Insertional translocations (ITs) are rare events that require at least three breaks in the chromosomes involved and thus qualify as complex chromosomal rearrangements (CCR). In the current study, we identified 40 ITs from approximately 18,000 clinical cases (1:500) using array-comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) in conjunction with fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) confirmation of the aCGH findings, and parental follow-up studies. Both submicroscopic and microscopically visible IT events were detected. They were divided into three major categories: (1) simple intrachromosomal and interchromosomal IT resulting in pure segmental trisomy, (2) complex IT involving more than one abnormality, (3) deletion inherited from a parent with a balanced IT resulting in pure segmental monosomy. Of the cases in which follow-up parental studies were available, over half showed inheritance from an apparently unaffected parent carrying the same unbalanced rearrangement detected in the propositi, thus decreasing the likelihood that these IT events are clinically relevant. Nevertheless, we identified six cases in which small submicroscopic events were detected involving known disease-associated genes/genomic segments and are likely to be pathogenic. We recommend that copy number gains detected by clinical aCGH analysis should be confirmed using FISH analysis whenever possible in order to determine the physical location of the duplicated segment. We hypothesize that the increased use of aCGH in the clinic will demonstrate that IT occurs more frequently than previously considered but can identify genomic rearrangements with unclear clinical significance.
Copyright 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.