[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Use of free fetal DNA to diagnose fetal chromosomal abnormalities has been hindered by the inability to distinguish fetal DNA from maternal DNA. Our aim was to establish whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) can be used to distinguish fetal DNA from maternal DNA-and to determine the number of fetal chromosomes-in maternal blood samples.
Formaldehyde-treated blood samples from 60 pregnant women and the stated biological fathers were analysed. Maternal plasma fractions were quantified at multiple SNPs, and the ratio of the unique fetal allele signal to the combined maternal and fetal allele signal calculated. The mean ratios of SNPs on chromosomes 13 and 21 were compared to test for potential fetal chromosomal abnormalities.
The mean proportion of free fetal DNA was 34.0% (median 32.5%, range 17.0-93.8). We identified three samples with significant differences in the fetal DNA ratios for chromosome 13 and chromosome 21, indicative of trisomy 21; the remaining 57 samples were deemed to be normal. Amniocentesis or newborn reports from the clinical sites confirmed that the copy number of fetal chromosomes 13 and 21 was established correctly for 58 of the 60 samples, identifying 56 of the 57 normal samples, and two of the three trisomy 21 samples. Of the incorrectly identified samples, one was a false negative and one was a false positive. The sensitivity and positive predictive value were both 66.7% (95% CI 12.5-98.2) and the specificity and negative predictive values were both 98.2% (89.4-99.9).
The copy number of chromosomes of interest can be directly established from maternal plasma. Such a non-invasive prenatal test could provide a useful complement to currently used screening tests.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Noninvasive prenatal diagnostic tests using free fetal DNA provide an alternative to invasive tests and their attendant risks; however, free fetal DNA exists in the maternal circulation at low percentages, which has hindered development of noninvasive tests.
To test the hypothesis that using formaldehyde to reduce cell lysis could increase the relative percentage of free fetal DNA in samples of maternal blood.
The first phase of the study was conducted from January through February 2002 at a single US clinical site; 2 samples of blood were collected from each of 10 pregnant women, and the percentage of free fetal DNA in formaldehyde-treated and untreated samples was determined. The second phase of the study was conducted from March 2002 through May 2003, and measured the percentage of free fetal DNA in 69 formaldehyde-treated samples of maternal blood obtained from a network of 27 US clinical sites in 16 states.
Percentage of free fetal DNA in samples of maternal blood.
In the first phase of the study, the mean percentage of free fetal DNA in the untreated samples was 7.7% (range, 0.32%-40%), while the mean percentage of free fetal DNA in the formaldehyde-treated samples was 20.2% (range, 1.6%-40%) (P =.02 for difference). In the second phase, a median of 25% (range, 3.1% to >50%) free fetal DNA was obtained for the 69 formaldehyde-treated maternal blood samples. Approximately 59% of the samples in this study had 25% or greater fetal DNA, and only 16% of the samples had less than 10% fetal DNA. In addition, 27.5% of the samples in this study had 50% or greater fetal DNA.
Addition of formaldehyde to maternal blood samples, coupled with careful processing protocols, increases the relative percentage of free fetal DNA, providing a foundation for development of noninvasive prenatal diagnostic tests to distinguish fetal DNA from maternal DNA in the maternal circulation.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2004 · JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association