Purpose: Whole-exome sequencing (WES) is increasingly used as a diagnostic tool in medicine, but prior reports focus on predominantly pediatric cohorts with neurologic or developmental disorders. We describe the diagnostic yield and characteristics of WES in adults.
Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of consecutive WES reports for adults from a diagnostic laboratory. Phenotype composition was determined using Human Phenotype Ontology terms.
Results: Molecular diagnoses were reported for 17.5% (85/486) of adults, which is lower than that for a primarily pediatric population (25.2%; P = 0.0003); the diagnostic rate was higher (23.9%) for those 18-30 years of age compared to patients older than 30 years (10.4%; P = 0.0001). Dual Mendelian diagnoses contributed to 7% of diagnoses, revealing blended phenotypes. Diagnoses were more frequent among individuals with abnormalities of the nervous system, skeletal system, head/neck, and growth. Diagnostic rate was independent of family history information, and de novo mutations contributed to 61.4% of autosomal dominant diagnoses.
Conclusion: Early WES experience in adults demonstrates molecular diagnoses in a substantial proportion of patients, informing clinical management, recurrence risk, and recommendations for relatives. A positive family history was not predictive, consistent with molecular diagnoses often revealed by de novo events, informing the Mendelian basis of genetic disease in adults.Genet Med 18 7, 678-685.