Genetic Diagnostic Testing for Inherited Cardiomyopathies: Considerations for Offering Multi-Gene Tests in a Health Care Setting

Abstract
Inherited cardiomyopathies (ICs) are a major cause of heart disease. Given their marked clinical and genetic heterogeneity, the content and clinical utility of IC multi-gene panels has been the topic of continuous debate. Our genetics diagnostic laboratory has been providing clinical diagnostic testing for ICs since 2012. We began by testing nine genes and expanded our panel by fivefold in 2015. Here, we describe the implementation of a cost-effective next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based assay for testing of IC genes, including a protocol that minimizes the amount of Sanger sequencing required to confirm variants identified by NGS, which reduces the cost and time of testing. The NGS assay was developed for the simultaneous analysis of 45 IC genes and was assessed for the impact of panel expansion on variant detection, turnaround time, and cost of testing in a cohort of 993 patients. The assay led to a considerable reduction in test cost and turnaround time. However, only a marginal increase was observed in the diagnostic yield, whereas the rate of inconclusive findings increased considerably. These findings suggest that the ongoing evaluation of gene content and monitoring of clinical utility for multi-gene tests are essential to achieve maximum clinical utility of multi-gene tests in a publicly funded health care setting.

Lead Researchers

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Researchers

  1. Olga Jarinova

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  2. Jean McGowan-Jordan

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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