Comprehensive data synthesis of the clinical parameters that affect plasma EGFR mutation test results in non-small cell lung carcinoma is lacking. Although individual studies have suggested a variety of patient characteristics that can affect diagnostic accuracy, no unified conclusion has been reached.
We analyzed 170 plasma EGFR mutation tests performed between 2015 and 2021 at our institution and carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis to identify clinical and imaging features that correlate with plasma EGFR mutation test sensitivity.
Data synthesis from 14 studies of 2,576 patients revealed that patients with stage IV disease had a significantly lower false-negative rate than those with stage I through III disease. For our institutional cohort, which consisted of 75 paired plasma and tissue tests that were assessable for diagnostic accuracy, the overall sensitivity was 70.59% (95% confidence interval, 56.17%-82.51%). Patients who had distant metastases and more suspicious lymph nodes on imaging findings correlated with a low false-negative rate.
While interpreting plasma EGFR mutation results, extra caution should be exercised for patients with early-stage, localized disease to accommodate the possibility of false-negative results. These meta-analyses and clinical data may enable clinicians to make evidence-based judgments for individual patients.

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