Variant discovery in patients with Mendelian vascular anomalies by next-generation sequencing and their use in patient clinical management

J Vasc Surg. 2018 Mar;67(3):922-932.e11. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2017.02.034. Epub 2017 Jun 24.


Objective: An accurate "molecular" diagnosis and classification of similar but distinct diseases is sometime challenging but often crucial for the definition of the appropriate patient medical management and treatment as well as for genetic counseling and risk assessment in families. The advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS), which analysed all known disease-associated genes in parallel in a cost- and time-effective manner, eased this process of disease definition and also for vascular anomalies that are a heterogeneous group of vascular tumors and congenital circulatory malformations and often characterized by overlapping phenotypes.

Methods: We designed a NGS-based screening of the 25 currently most prevalent genes identified in patients with vascular anomalies with Mendelian inheritance and applied this panel to study the DNA of 150 patients affected with vascular anomalies for autosomal recessive and autosomal dominant variants and to analyse the paired blood and DNA from intralesional biopsy specimens in 17 patients for somatic unbalance. Results were confirmed with Sanger sequencing.

Results: We identified 14 pathogenic variants in 13 of 150 patients. Eight variants were previously reported as a disease-causing variant, and six were new. In 55 additional probands we detected 75 variants with unknown significance. Moreover, a previously reported somatic variant was detected in five of 17 available tissue biopsy specimens.

Conclusions: Our results show that many genes can cause a wide variety of syndromic and nonsyndromic disorders, confirming that genetic testing by NGS is the approach of choice to diagnose heritable vascular anomalies, especially, but not only, when an intralesional biopsy specimen is available. The identification of the causative genes and the possibility of tracing somatic variants in tissues provide important information about etiology, patient clinical management, and treatment, and it could highlight otherwise unsuspected clinical situations.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Testing / methods*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Heredity
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing*
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Precision Medicine
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vascular Malformations / diagnosis
  • Vascular Malformations / genetics*
  • Vascular Malformations / therapy


  • Genetic Markers