Molecular autopsy by trio exome sequencing (ES) and postmortem examination in fetuses and neonates with prenatally identified structural anomalies.Genet Med. 2019 05; 21(5):1065-1073.GM
To determine the diagnostic yield of combined exome sequencing (ES) and autopsy in fetuses/neonates with prenatally identified structural anomalies resulting in termination of pregnancy, intrauterine, neonatal, or early infant death.
ES was undertaken in 27 proband/parent trios following full autopsy. Candidate pathogenic variants were classified by a multidisciplinary clinical review panel using American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) guidelines.
A genetic diagnosis was established in ten cases (37%). Pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants were identified in nine different genes including four de novo autosomal dominant, three homozygous autosomal recessive, two compound heterozygous autosomal recessive, and one X-linked. KMT2D variants (associated with Kabuki syndrome postnatally) occurred in two cases. Pathogenic variants were identified in 5/13 (38%) cases with multisystem anomalies, in 2/4 (50%) cases with fetal akinesia deformation sequence, and in 1/4 (25%) cases each with cardiac and brain anomalies and hydrops fetalis. No pathogenic variants were detected in fetuses with genitourinary (1), skeletal (1), or abdominal (1) abnormalities.
This cohort demonstrates the clinical utility of molecular autopsy with ES to identify an underlying genetic cause in structurally abnormal fetuses/neonates. These molecular findings provided parents with an explanation of the developmental abnormality, delineated the recurrence risks, and assisted the management of subsequent pregnancies.