Recent published studies have demonstrated the incremental value of the use of cell-free DNA for noninvasive prenatal testing with 100% sensitivity for trisomies 21 and 18 and a specificity of ≥99.7% for both. Data presented by two independent groups suggesting positive results by noninvasive prenatal testing were not confirmed by cytogenetic studies.
Concordance of results among cases with noninvasive prenatal testing referred for cytogenetic prenatal and/or postnatal studies by karyotyping, fluorescence in situ hybridization, and/or oligo–single-nucleotide polymorphism microarray was evaluated for 109 consecutive specimens.
Cytogenetic results were positive for trisomy 21 in 38 of the 41 noninvasive prenatal testing–positive cases (true-positive rate: 93%) and for trisomy 18 in 16 of the 25 noninvasive prenatal testing–positive cases (true-positive rate: 64%). The true-positive rate was only 44% (7/16 cases) for trisomy 13 and 38% (6/16 cases) for sex chromosome aneuploidy.
These findings raise concerns about the limitations of noninvasive prenatal testing and the need for analysis of a larger number of false-positive cases to provide true positive predictive values for noninvasive testing and to search for potential biological or technical causes. Our data suggest the need for a careful interpretation of noninvasive prenatal testing results and cautious transmission of the same to providers and patients.
Genet Med 17 3, 234–236.