PURPOSECell-free DNA (cfDNA) may allow for minimally invasive identification of biologically relevant genomic alterations and genetically distinct tumor subclones. Although existing biomarkers may detect localized prostate cancer, additional strategies interrogating genomic heterogeneity are necessary for identifying and monitoring aggressive disease. In this study, we aimed to evaluate whether circulating tumor DNA can detect genomic alterations present in multiple regions of localized prostate tumor tissue.METHODSLow-pass whole-genome and targeted sequencing with a machine-learning guided 2.5-Mb targeted panel were used to identify single nucleotide variants, small insertions and deletions (indels), and copy-number alterations in cfDNA. The majority of this study focuses on the subset of 21 patients with localized disease, although 45 total individuals were evaluated, including 15 healthy controls and nine men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Plasma cfDNA was barcoded with duplex unique molecular identifiers. For localized cases, matched tumor tissue was collected from multiple regions (one to nine samples per patient) for comparison.RESULTSSomatic tumor variants present in heterogeneous tumor foci from patients with localized disease were detected in cfDNA, and cfDNA mutational burden was found to track with disease severity. Somatic tissue alterations were identified in cfDNA, including nonsynonymous variants in FOXA1, PTEN, MED12, and ATM. Detection of these overlapping variants was associated with seminal vesicle invasion (P = .019) and with the number of variants initially found in the matched tumor tissue samples (P = .0005).CONCLUSIONOur findings demonstrate the potential of targeted cfDNA sequencing to detect somatic tissue alterations in heterogeneous, localized prostate cancer, especially in a setting where matched tumor tissue may be unavailable (ie, active surveillance or treatment monitoring).