Rapid prenatal diagnosis of trisomy 21 in 5049 consecutive uncultured amniotic fluid samples by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH)

Prenat Diagn. 2002 Jan;22(1):29-33. doi: 10.1002/pd.225.


Objectives: This was a retrospective study on the results of interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), performed routinely for chromosome 21 and on ultrasonographic indications for chromosomes 13, 18, X and Y in a series of 5049 amniotic fluid samples.

Methods: Interphase FISH for chromosome 21 was performed in 5049 consecutive amniotic fluid samples for the rapid prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Aneuploidy for four other chromosomes (13, 18, X and Y) was tested following ultrasonographic indications. Karyotypes from standard cytogenetic analysis were compared to the FISH results.

Results: Using conventional cytogenetics 3.6% (183/5049) chromosomal anomalies were detected. After exclusion of familial chromosome rearrangements, i.e. balanced autosomal reciprocal or Robertsonian translocations (30/5049) and inversions (19/5049), 2.65% chromosomal anomalies (134/5049) were diagnosed. Of this group 0.18% (9/5049) were chromosomal rearrangements not detectable by FISH and 2.47% (125/5049) were numerical chromosomal anomalies detectable by interphase FISH for chromosomes 13, 18, 21, X and Y. With routine interphase FISH for chromosome 21 and FISH on echographic indication for the other four chromosomes we detected 107/125 of these numerical chromosomal anomalies, i.e. 85.6%. All 70 cases of trisomy 21 were detected by FISH and confirmed with conventional cytogenetics (sensitivity=100%) and there were no false-positive results (specificity=100%). Maternal cell contamination of amniotic fluid samples occurred in 1.27% (64/5049) of samples; 0.26% (13/5049) of these samples were uninformative by FISH due to maternal cell contamination (12/5049) or absence of nuclei in one sample (1/5049).

Conclusion: In this group of 5049 samples we found that FISH is a reliable technique for the rapid prenatal diagnosis of trisomy 21. The number of uninformative cases due to maternal cell contamination was low. The strategy to perform FISH for chromosome 21 in all samples and only on ultrasonographic indication for the four other chromosomes (13, 18, X and Y) followed by standard cytogenetics is effective.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amniocentesis
  • Amniotic Fluid / chemistry*
  • Aneuploidy
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 13
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 18
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 21*
  • Cytogenetic Analysis
  • Down Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Down Syndrome / genetics*
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / genetics
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence*
  • Oligohydramnios
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods*
  • Sex Chromosome Aberrations
  • Trisomy
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal
  • X Chromosome
  • Y Chromosome