Targeted resequencing gene panels are used in the diagnostic setting to identify gene defects in epilepsy. We performed targeted resequencing using a 30-genes panel and a 95-genes panel in 349 patients with drug-resistant epilepsies beginning in the first years of life. We identified 71 pathogenic variants, 42 of which novel, in 30 genes, corresponding to 20.3% of the probands. In 66% of mutation positive patients, epilepsy onset occurred before the age of 6 months. The 95-genes panel allowed a genetic diagnosis in 22 (6.3%) patients that would have otherwise been missed using the 30-gene panel. About 50% of mutations were identified in genes coding for sodium and potassium channel components. SCN2A was the most frequently mutated gene followed by SCN1A, KCNQ2, STXBP1, SCN8A, CDKL5, and MECP2. Twenty-nine mutations were identified in 23 additional genes, most of them recently associated with epilepsy. Our data show that panels targeting about 100 genes represent the best cost-effective diagnostic option in pediatric drug-resistant epilepsies. They enable molecular diagnosis of atypical phenotypes, allowing to broaden phenotype-genotype correlations. Molecular diagnosis might influence patients' management and translate into better and specific treatment recommendations in some conditions.
Keywords: epilepsy; gene panel; mutation; next-generation sequencing.
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