Cri du chat syndrome: changing phenotype in older patients

Am J Med Genet. 2000 Jan 31;90(3):203-15. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1096-8628(20000131)90:3<203::aid-ajmg5>;2-a.


The cri du chat syndrome or 5p deletion syndrome is a well-delineated clinical entity and has an incidence of 1/50,000 in newborn infants. A de novo deletion is present in 85% of the patients. Ten to 15% are familial cases with more than 90% due to a parental translocation and 5% due to an inversion of chromosome 5. Although the size of the deleted segment varies, the critical segment that is deleted in all patients appears to be 5p15.2. The clinical picture is well known in younger patients and includes the typical high-pitched cry, psychomotor retardation, microcephaly, growth rate failure, and craniofacial abnormalities including round face, hypertelorism, broad nasal bridge, downward slanting palpebral fissures, and micrognathia. With advancing age, the clinical picture becomes less striking. We present seven patients with 5p deletion syndrome, who were between age 16 and 47 years. Comparing their phenotype at several ages, a change of their phenotype was noted. Some of the clinical characteristics became more evident such as long face, macrostomia, and scoliosis. All patients were severely or profoundly mentally retarded except one patient who was mildly mentally retarded. The diagnosis was difficult to make in some of the patients who were first seen at an older age. In some of them, the craniofacial appearance resembled that seen in Angelman syndrome. Most patients had periods of destructive behavior, self mutilation, and aggression. The clinical diagnosis should be confirmed as soon as possible with cytogenetic investigation to provide specific support, prevention, and treatment of complications. Therefore, it is important to perform follow-up studies in young children to determine their outcome after infant-stimulation programs.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 5
  • Cri-du-Chat Syndrome / genetics
  • Cri-du-Chat Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Facies
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Karyotyping
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype