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DNA test better than standard screens in identifying fetal chromosome abnormalities
Date:2/26/2014

BOSTON (Feb. 27) A study in this week's New England Journal of Medicine potentially has significant implications for prenatal testing for major fetal chromosome abnormalities. The study found that in a head-to-head comparison of noninvasive prenatal testing using cell free DNA (cfDNA) to standard screening methods, cfDNA testing (verifi prenatal test, Illumina, Inc.) significantly reduced the rate of false positive results and had significantly higher positive predictive values for the detection of fetal trisomies 21 and 18.

A team of scientists, led by Diana W. Bianchi, MD, Executive Director of the Mother Infant Research Institute at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, reports the results of their clinical trial using non-invasive cell-free DNA prenatal testing in a general obstetrical population of pregnant women, in an article entitled "DNA sequencing versus standard prenatal aneuploidy screening."

The multi-center, blinded study analyzed samples from 1,914 pregnant women, and found that noninvasive cfDNA testing had a ten-fold improvement in the positive predictive value for trisomy 21, commonly known as Down syndrome, compared to standard prenatal aneuploidy screening methods (aneuploidy is a term for one or more extra or missing chromosomes). Importantly, the cfDNA test performed consistently well in a general population of pregnant women, regardless of their risk for fetal chromosomal abnormalities. Previous studies have shown that the tests were more accurate for women who had higher risks for fetal chromosomal abnormalities, but this was the first time that the cfDNA tests were compared in a general obstetrical population to the variety of blood and ultrasound tests that comprise the current standard of care in the United States.

"We found that the major advantage of noninvasive prenatal DNA testing was the significant reduction of the false positive rate," said Bianchi. "Prenatal testing usin
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Contact: Jeremy Lechan
jlechan@tuftsmedicalcenter.org
617-636-0104
Tufts Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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