Copy number variations in 375 patients with oesophageal atresia and/or tracheoesophageal fistula

Eur J Hum Genet. 2016 Dec;24(12):1715-1723. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2016.86. Epub 2016 Jul 20.


Oesophageal atresia (OA) with or without tracheoesophageal fistula (TOF) are rare anatomical congenital malformations whose cause is unknown in over 90% of patients. A genetic background is suggested, and among the reported genetic defects are copy number variations (CNVs). We hypothesized that CNVs contribute to OA/TOF development. Quantifying their prevalence could aid in genetic diagnosis and clinical care strategies. Therefore, we profiled 375 patients in a combined Dutch, American and German cohort via genomic microarray and compared the CNV profiles with their unaffected parents and published control cohorts. We identified 167 rare CNVs containing genes (frequency<0.0005 in our in-house cohort). Eight rare CNVs - in six patients - were de novo, including one CNV previously associated with oesophageal disease. (hg19 chr7:g.(143820444_143839360)_(159119486_159138663)del) 1.55% of isolated OA/TOF patients and 1.62% of patients with additional congenital anomalies had de novo CNVs. Furthermore, three (15q13.3, 16p13.3 and 22q11.2) susceptibility loci were identified based on their overlap with known OA/TOF-associated CNV syndromes and overlap with loci in published CNV association case-control studies in developmental delay. Our study suggests that CNVs contribute to OA/TOF development. In addition to the identified likely deleterious de novo CNVs, we detected 167 rare CNVs. Although not directly disease-causing, these CNVs might be of interest, as they can act as a modifier in a multiple hit model, or as the second hit in a recessive condition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • DNA Copy Number Variations*
  • Esophageal Atresia / genetics*
  • Genetic Loci
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / genetics*

Supplementary concepts

  • Esophageal atresia with or without tracheoesophageal fistula