Comprehensive CFTR gene analysis of the French cystic fibrosis screened newborn cohort: implications for diagnosis, genetic counseling, and mutation-specific therapy

Genet Med. 2015 Feb;17(2):108-16. doi: 10.1038/gim.2014.113. Epub 2014 Aug 14.


Purpose: Newborn screening (NBS) for cystic fibrosis (CF) was implemented throughout France in 2002. It involves a four-tiered procedure: immunoreactive trypsin (IRT)/DNA/IRT/sweat test [corrected] was implemented throughout France in 2002. The aim of this study was to assess the performance of molecular CFTR gene analysis from the French NBS cohort, to evaluate CF incidence, mutation detection rate, and allelic heterogeneity.

Methods: During the 8-year period, 5,947,148 newborns were screened for cystic fibrosis. The data were collected by the Association Française pour le Dépistage et la Prévention des Handicaps de l'Enfant. The mutations identified were classified into four groups based on their potential for causing disease, and a diagnostic algorithm was proposed.

Results: Combining the genetic and sweat test results, 1,160 neonates were diagnosed as having cystic fibrosis. The corresponding incidence, including both the meconium ileus (MI) and false-negative cases, was calculated at 1 in 4,726 live births. The CF30 kit, completed with a comprehensive CFTR gene analysis, provides an excellent detection rate of 99.77% for the mutated alleles, enabling the identification of a complete genotype in 99.55% of affected neonates. With more than 200 different mutations characterized, we confirmed the French allelic heterogeneity.

Conclusion: The very good sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value obtained suggest that the four-tiered IRT/DNA/IRT/sweat test procedure may provide an effective strategy for newborn screening for cystic fibrosis.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Alleles
  • Cystic Fibrosis / diagnosis*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / epidemiology
  • Cystic Fibrosis / genetics*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / therapy
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator / genetics*
  • France / epidemiology
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genetic Heterogeneity
  • Genetic Testing* / methods
  • Genotype
  • Geography, Medical
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mutation
  • Neonatal Screening* / methods
  • Population Surveillance
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator