Clinical relevance of small copy-number variants in chromosomal microarray clinical testing

Academic Article


  • Purpose: The 2010 consensus statement on diagnostic chromosomal microarray (CMA) testing recommended an array resolution ≥400 kb throughout the genome as a balance of analytical and clinical sensitivity. In spite of the clear evidence for pathogenicity of large copy-number variants (CNVs) in neurodevelopmental disorders and/or congenital anomalies, the significance of small, nonrecurrent CNVs (<500 kb) has not been well established in a clinical setting. Methods: We investigated the clinical significance of all nonpolymorphic small, nonrecurrent CNVs (<500 kb) in patients referred for CMA clinical testing over a period of 6 years, from 2009 to 2014 (a total of 4,417 patients). We excluded from our study patients with benign or likely benign CNVs and patients with only recurrent microdeletions/microduplications <500 kb. Results: In total, 383 patients (8.67%) were found to carry at least one small, nonrecurrent CNV, of whom 176 patients (3.98%) had one small CNV classified as a variant of uncertain significance (VUS), 45 (1.02%) had two or more small VUS CNVs, 20 (0.45%) had one small VUS CNV and a recurrent CNV, 113 (2.56%) had one small pathogenic or likely pathogenic CNV, 17 (0.38%) had two or more small pathogenic or likely pathogenic CNVs, and 12 (0.27%) had one small pathogenic or likely pathogenic CNV and a recurrent CNV. Within the pathogenic group, 80 of 142 patients (56% of all small pathogenic CNV cases) were found to have a single whole-gene or exonic deletion. The themes that emerged from our study are presented in the Discussion section. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates the diagnostic clinical relevance of small, nonrecurrent CNVs <500 kb during CMA clinical testing and underscores the need for careful clinical interpretation of these CNVs.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hollenbeck D; Williams CL; Drazba K; Descartes M; Korf BR; Rutledge SL; Lose EJ; Robin NH; Carroll AJ; Mikhail FM
  • Start Page

  • 377
  • End Page

  • 385
  • Volume

  • 19
  • Issue

  • 4