With the increasing integration of molecular alterations into the evaluation of hematologic malignancies (HM), somatic mutation profiling by next-generation sequencing (NGS) has become a common clinical testing strategy. Limited data are available about the characteristics of these assays.


To describe assay characteristics, specimen requirements, and reporting practices for NGS-based HM testing using College of American Pathologists proficiency testing survey data.


The College of American Pathologists NGS Hematologic Malignancies Survey (NGSHM) results from 78 laboratories were used to determine laboratory practices in NGS-based HM testing.


The majority of laboratories performed tumor-only (88.5% [69 of 78]), targeted sequencing of cancer genes or mutation hotspots (98.7% [77 of 78]); greater than 90% performed testing on fresh bone marrow and peripheral blood. The majority of laboratories reported a 5% lower limit of detection for single-nucleotide variants (73.1% [57 of 78]) and small insertions and deletions (50.6% [39 of 77]). A majority of laboratories used benchtop sequencers and custom enrichment approaches.


This manuscript summarizes the characteristics of clinical NGS-based testing for the detection of somatic variants in HM. These data may be broadly useful to inform laboratory practice and quality management systems, regulation, and oversight of NGS testing, and precision medicine efforts using a data-driven approach.

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Merker is a consultant for PierianDx and Illumina, Inc. The other authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.

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