Performance of the neoBona test: a new paired-end massively parallel shotgun sequencing approach for cell-free DNA-based aneuploidy screening

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Apr;49(4):460-464. doi: 10.1002/uog.17386. Epub 2017 Feb 28.


Objective: To assess the performance of screening for fetal trisomies 21, 18 and 13 by cell-free (cf) DNA analysis of maternal blood using a new method based on paired-end massively parallel shotgun sequencing (MPSS).

Methods: This was a blinded study of plasma samples (1mL) obtained from 1000 women undergoing screening for fetal trisomies 21, 18 and 13 at 11-13 weeks' gestation. The study included 50 cases with confirmed fetal trisomy 21, 30 with trisomy 18, 10 with trisomy 13 and 910 unaffected pregnancies. Paired-end MPSS with the neoBona® test allowed simultaneous assessment of fetal fraction, cfDNA fragment size distribution and chromosome counting, which were integrated into a new analysis algorithm to calculate trisomy likelihood ratios (t-score) for each chromosome of interest. Each sample was classified as trisomic or unaffected using chromosome-specific cut-offs set at t-score values of 1.5 for trisomy 21 and 3.0 for trisomies 18 and 13.

Results: Valid results were provided for 988 (98.8%) cases; 12 (1.2%) samples, from nine euploid and three trisomy 21 pregnancies, did not pass quality-control criteria and were excluded from further analysis. All 47 cases of trisomy 21, all 10 of trisomy 13, 29 of 30 with trisomy 18 and all 901 unaffected cases were classified correctly. Median fetal fraction was 10.5% (range, 0.3-33.8%) and trisomic and unaffected cases with low fetal fractions of < 1% were identified correctly.

Conclusions: This novel method for cfDNA analysis of maternal plasma, which utilizes paired-end MPSS, can provide accurate prediction of fetal trisomies. Use of a new multicomponent t-score removes the need to reject samples with fetal fraction < 4%, which potentially extends the benefits of non-invasive prenatal cfDNA analysis to a larger proportion of pregnancies. © 2016 Authors. Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Keywords: cell-free DNA; paired-end sequencing; screening; trisomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell-Free System
  • Chromosome Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 13
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 18
  • DNA / blood
  • Down Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Trisomy / diagnosis*
  • Trisomy 13 Syndrome
  • Trisomy 18 Syndrome


  • DNA