Rapid prenatal diagnosis of common chromosome aneuploidies by QF-PCR, results of 9 years of clinical experience


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Abstract

BackgroundDespite being deliberately targeted to common chromosome aneuploidies, the rapid quantitative fluorescent polymerase chain reaction (QF-PCR) tests can detect the majority of chromosome abnormalities in prenatal diagnosis. The main advantages of this assay are low cost, speed and automation allowing large-scale application.MethodsWe developed a QF-PCR test that was applied on 43 000 clinical samples reporting results in 24 h. Most common indications were biochemical risk (32%) and advanced maternal age (30%). Samples were also tested by cytogenetic analysis and the results compared.ResultsAneuploidies involving chromosomes 21, 18, 13, X and Y were detected with 100% specificity. Several cases of partial trisomies and mosaicism were also identified. Overall 95% of clinically relevant abnormalities were readily detected and termination of affected pregnancies could be performed without waiting for the cytogenetic results.ConclusionsOur study supports the possibility of reducing the load of prenatal cytogenetic tests if the pregnancies are carefully monitored by non-invasive screening. In case of abnormal QF-PCR results, medical action can be taken within few hours from sampling. In cases of negative QF-PCR results, cytogenetic analyses might only be performed for fetuses with ultrasound abnormalities. In countries where large-scale cytogenetic tests are not available, QF-PCR may be used as the only prenatal diagnostic procedure.

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