Cytology samples are being increasingly utilized for comprehensive molecular testing. Although fine-needle aspirates are adequate substrates for high-throughput sequencing, the suitability of malignant body fluids remains largely unexplored. Herein, we investigated the adequacy and utility of performing targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) on malignant effusions from patients with metastatic lung adenocarcinoma. Thirty-two effusion samples that were submitted for hybrid capture-based NGS using a clinically validated solid tumor genotyping panel were examined. All cases showed =5% tumor cellularity; however, 28 (88%) provided sufficient DNA for NGS (=1 ng/µL). The sequencing reads showed satisfactory quality control statistics, and the variant allele frequencies were correlated with tumor cellularity. Furthermore, pathogenic or likely pathogenic genomic alterations were identified in 26/28 samples (93%), whereas clinically actionable alterations were present in 18 (64%). Notably, nine patients had additional molecular testing performed on preceding/subsequent biopsies, and the results across multiple samples were compared. In two patients, the NGS-based fluid analysis identified clinically actionable alterations that were not detected by other hotspot testing. In four patients treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors, malignant fluid sequencing confirmed driver alterations from prior testing and revealed new resistance mechanisms. Hence, given adequate DNA input and tumor cellularity, comprehensive genomic profiling of malignant effusions may be used to establish mutational status at diagnosis and inform treatment resistance during targeted therapy.
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