The natural history of Cri du Chat Syndrome. A report from the Italian Register

Eur J Med Genet. 2006 Sep-Oct;49(5):363-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmg.2005.12.004. Epub 2006 Jan 13.


The aim of this report is to provide an update on the natural history of the Cri du Chat Syndrome by means of the Italian Register (I.R.). Two hundred twenty patients were diagnosed by standard cytogenetic methods and 112 of these were also characterised by molecular-cytogenetic investigation (FISH). FISH analysis showed interstitial deletions, short terminal deletions and other rare rearrangements not previously correctly diagnosed by standard cytogenetics. The diagnosis was made in the first month of life in 42% and within first year in 82% of cases. The remaining 18% were diagnosed at an age ranging from 13 months to 47 years. At the last follow-up, patient age ranged from 8 months to 61 years. Mortality, already low, has decreased over time as it is lower between 1984-2002 compared to 1965-1983. Mortality was higher in patients with unbalanced translocations resulting in 5p deletions. Our data confirm that the cat-like cry and peculiar timbre of voice are the most typical signs of the syndrome, not only at birth but also later and these are the only signs which might suggest the diagnosis in patients with small deletions and mild clinical picture. A cytogenetic and clinical variability must be underlined. Cardiac, cerebral, renal and gastrointestinal malformations were more frequent in the patients with unbalanced translocations resulting in 5p deletions. Sucking and feeding difficulties and respiratory infections are frequent in the first months or years of life. Intubation difficulties linked to larynx anomalies must be considered. Psychomotor development is delayed in all patients but there is a variability related to deletion size and type as well as other genetic and environmental factors. However, the results showed an improvement in the acquisition of the development skills and progress in social introduction which should encourage caregivers and parents to work together in carrying out the rehabilitative and educational interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromosome Banding
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 5 / genetics
  • Cri-du-Chat Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Cri-du-Chat Syndrome / etiology*
  • Cri-du-Chat Syndrome / genetics
  • Cri-du-Chat Syndrome / mortality
  • Cytogenetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychomotor Disorders / genetics
  • Registries
  • Translocation, Genetic