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The Impact of Multiple Aneuploidy and Single Autosomal Monosomy NIPT Results on Clinical Management

Holly L. Snyder, MS, CGC
| Mar 22, 2016

Cell-free DNA (cfDNA)-based noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) became clinically available in 2012 to screen for common aneuploidies, including trisomies 13, 18, and 21. Test menus have since expanded to include additional options, such as sex chromosome analysis and select microdeletion syndromes. Although most patients receive a negative or positive result for one of the common aneuploidies, some patients receive unusual findings, such as an autosomal monosomy or multiple aneuploidies. True multiple aneuploidies are rare and generally unlikely to result in a clinically recognized pregnancy or viable birth.1-3 Several recent reports have linked NIPT results of multiple aneuploidies and autosomal monosomy to occult maternal tumors, either benign or malignant status.4-8 This has generated interest from providers; however, there was limited data to guide appropriate patient counseling following an atypical NIPT result. 

A recently published study9 sought to review all multiple aneuploidy and autosomal monosomy results reported through the Illumina CAP-accredited and CLIA-certified clinical lab in Redwood City, CA. Analysis of just over 110,000 cases revealed 138 (0.12%) cases reported as a multiple aneuploidy or autosomal monosomy (Figure 1, click to enlarge). These rare results were categorized into three groups: single autosomal monosomy (n=65), single trisomy with a sex chromosome abnormality (n=35) and multiple aneuploidies (n=37). Outcome information was available for 79 (57%) cases in this study cohort (Figure 2, click to enlarge). 

Within the 79 cases with outcomes, full or partial concordance was confirmed in 16 cases (20.3%). Other biological etiologies were confirmed for an additional 11 cases (13.9%), including six cases of maternal malignancy and five cases of a fetal or maternal chromosome abnormality in a non-test (reference) chromosome. Adding analysis of whole genome evaluation of all 24 chromosomes to the test menu might help alleviate the ambiguity currently associated with unusual NIPT results. This study showed that partial or full discordance may still be seen secondary to other biological etiologies.

The strength of this study is that it provides a resource for providers counseling patients with unusual NIPT results. Despite the small cohort size, outcomes include several possible explanations for atypical NIPT results that providers may consider when addressing the potential underlying explanations for each patient’s unique test result. This study reminds patients and providers that NIPT is a screening tool and as recommended by several societies, confirmatory testing should be offered to all women with an abnormal NIPT result.10-13


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Images from Snyder HL, Curnow KJ, Bhatt S, Bianchi DW. Follow-up of multiple aneuploidies and single monosomies detected by noninvasive prenatal testing: Implications for management and counseling. Prenat Diagn. 2016;doi:10.1002/pd.4778.