Objectives: To describe optimization of a nationwide newborn screening program for cystic fibrosis (CF) that combines an immunoreactive trypsinogen (IRT) assay and DNA mutation analysis in dried blood samples at day 3.
Study design: Data from regional screening laboratories and CF care centers were centralized and periodically analyzed to allow adaptation, thus limiting the number of false-positive cases.
Results: A total of 2717905 infants were screened between 2002 and 2005. Flow chart protocol was modified twice. First, the IRT d3 cutoff value increased from 60 to 65 microg/L, thus decreasing the percentage of samples requiring mutation analysis from 0.82% to 0.64%. Second, for infants with no mutations using the screening panel, a recall for IRT was performed only if IRT d3 was > 100 microg/L; the percentage of recalls decreased from 0.51% to 0.12%, and the percentage of infants requiring a sweat test decreased from 0.14% to 0.01%. No significant change in the CF detection rate was observed after these 2 modifications. A total of 625 CF cases were detected, and 22 false-negative findings (3.4%) were observed, most of them inevitable, with a low initial IRT.
Conclusions: The centralized data analysis led to changes in the screening strategy to optimise the newborn screening program.