Preoperative detection of KRAS G12D mutation in ctDNA is a powerful predictor for early recurrence of resectable PDAC patients.
About 25–37% of resectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) had a great chance of early recurrence after radical resection, which is mainly due to preoperative micrometastasis. We herein demonstrated the profiles of ctDNA in resectable PDAC and use of ctDNA to identify patients with potential micrometastasis. A total of 113 and 44 resectable PDACs were enrolled in discovery and validation cohorts, separately. A panel containing 50 genes was used to screen ctDNA by an NGS-based assessment with high specificity. In the discovery cohort, the overall detection rate was 38.05% (43/113). Among positive ctDNA, KRAS mutation had the highest detection rate (23.01%, 26/113), while the others were <5%. Survival analysis showed that plasma KRAS mutations, especially KRAS G12D mutation, had significant association with OS and RFS of resectable PDAC. Plasma KRAS G12D mutation showed a strong correlation with early distant metastasis. In the validation cohort, survival analysis showed similar association between plasma KRAS G12D mutation and poor outcomes. This study demonstrated that plasma KRAS mutations, especially KRAS G12D mutation, served as a useful predictive biomarker for prognosis of resectable PDAC. More importantly, due to high correlation with micrometastasis, preoperative detection of plasma KRAS G12D mutation helps in optimising surgical selection of resectable PDAC.