The potential diagnostic yield of whole exome sequencing in pregnancies complicated by fetal ultrasound anomalies

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Abstract

Introduction
The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to determine the potential diagnostic yield of prenatal whole exome sequencing in fetuses with structural anomalies on expert ultrasound scans and normal chromosomal microarray results.

Material and methods
In the period 2013-2016, 391 pregnant women with fetal ultrasound anomalies who received normal chromosomal microarray results, were referred for additional genetic counseling and opted for additional molecular testing pre- and/or postnatally. Most of the couples received only a targeted molecular test and in 159 cases (40.7%) whole exome sequencing (broad gene panels or open exome) was performed. The results of these molecular tests were evaluated retrospectively, regardless of the time of the genetic diagnosis (prenatal or postnatal).

Results
In 76 of 391 fetuses (19.4%, 95% CI 15.8%-23.6%) molecular testing provided a genetic diagnosis with identification of (likely) pathogenic variants. In the majority of cases (91.1%, 73/76) the (likely) pathogenic variant would be detected by prenatal whole exome sequencing analysis.

Conclusions
Our retrospective cohort study shows that prenatal whole exome sequencing, if offered by a clinical geneticist, in addition to chromosomal microarray, would notably increase the diagnostic yield in fetuses with ultrasound anomalies and would allow early diagnosis of a genetic disorder irrespective of the (incomplete) fetal phenotype.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Volume100
Issue number6
Early online date29 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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