Purpose: To determine whether maternal plasma cell-free DNA sequencing can effectively identify trisomy 18 and 13.
Methods: Sixty-two pregnancies with trisomy 18 and 12 with trisomy 13 were selected from a cohort of 4,664 pregnancies along with matched euploid controls (including 212 additional Down syndrome and matched controls already reported), and their samples tested using a laboratory-developed, next-generation sequencing test. Interpretation of the results for chromosome 18 and 13 included adjustment for CG content bias.
Results: Among the 99.1% of samples interpreted (1,971/1,988), observed trisomy 18 and 13 detection rates were 100% (59/59) and 91.7% (11/12) at false-positive rates of 0.28% and 0.97%, respectively. Among the 17 samples without an interpretation, three were trisomy 18. If z-score cutoffs for trisomy 18 and 13 were raised slightly, the overall false-positive rates for the three aneuploidies could be as low as 0.1% (2/1,688) at an overall detection rate of 98.9% (280/283) for common aneuploidies. An independent academic laboratory confirmed performance in a subset.
Conclusion: Among high-risk pregnancies, sequencing circulating cell-free DNA detects nearly all cases of Down syndrome, trisomy 18, and trisomy 13, at a low false-positive rate. This can potentially reduce invasive diagnostic procedures and related fetal losses by 95%. Evidence supports clinical testing for these aneuploidies.