Next-generation sequencing (NGS) of immune receptors has become a standard tool to assess minimal residual disease (MRD) in patients treated for lymphoid malignancy, and it is being used to study the T-cell repertoire in many clinical settings. To better understanding the potential clinical utility and limitations of this application outside of MRD, we developed a BIOMED-2 primer-based NGS method and characterized its performance in controls and patients with graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic hematopoietic transplant. For controls and patients with GVHD, replicate sequencing of the same T-cell receptor ß (TRB) libraries was highly reproducible. Higher variability was observed in sequencing of different TRB libraries made from the same DNA stock. Variability was increased in patients with GVHD compared with controls; patients with GVHD also had lower diversity than controls. In the T-cell repertoire of a healthy person, approximately 99.6% of the CDR3 clones were in low abundance, with frequency <10(-3). A single library could identify >93% of the clones with frequency =10(-3) in the repertoire. Sequencing in duplicate increased the average detection rate to >97%. This work demonstrates that NGS reliably and robustly characterizes TRB populations in healthy individuals and patients with GVHD with frequency =10(-3) and provides a methodologic framework for applying NGS immune repertoire methods to clinical testing applications beyond MRD.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jmoldx.2016.07.009
View details for Web of Science ID 000390983100008