Recent advances in molecular cytogenetics enable identification of small chromosomal aberrations that are undetectable by routine chromosome banding in 5-20% of patients with mental retardation/developmental delay (MR/DD) and dysmorphism. The aim of this study was to compare the clinical usefulness of two molecular cytogenetic techniques, metaphase high-resolution comparative genomic hybridization (HR-CGH) and targeted array CGH, also known as Chromosomal Microarray Analysis (CMA). A total of 116 patients with unexplained mild to severe MR and other features suggestive of a chromosomal abnormality with apparently normal or balanced karyotypes were analyzed using HR-CGH (43 patients) and/or CMA (91 patients). Metaphase HR-CGH detected seven interstitial deletions (16.3%). Rare deletions of chromosomes 16 (16p11.2p12.1) and 8 (8q21.11q21.2) were identified. Targeted CMA revealed copy-number changes in 19 of 91 patients (20.8%), among which 11 (11.8%) were clinically relevant, 6 (6.5%) were interpreted as polymorphic variants and 2 (2.1%) were of uncertain significance. The changes varied in size from 0.5 to 12.9 Mb. In summary, our results show that metaphase HR-CGH and array CGH techniques have become important components in cytogenetic diagnostics, particularly for detecting cryptic constitutional chromosome imbalances in patients with MR, in whom the underlying genetic defect is unknown. Additionally, application of both methods together increased the detection rates of genomic imbalances in the tested groups.
Copyright 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.