Genetic Testing in a Cohort of Complex Esophageal Atresia

Mol Syndromol. 2017 Aug;8(5):236-243. doi: 10.1159/000477429. Epub 2017 Jun 16.


The objective of the present study is to describe a cohort of complex esophageal atresia and the yield of genetic tests performed for such patients. We selected 45 patients with complex esophageal atresia (EA), namely those having at least one associated anomaly. We reviewed their medical records to assess clinical features, other diagnoses, and genetic investigations. Most of the patients had a diagnosis of VACTERL association (56%) with no genetic variant identified. Interestingly, 5 patients in the cohort (11%) had a right pulmonary hypoplasia or agenesis. A majority of our cohort (73%) had genetic testing; 60% were karyotyped (abnormal in 4 of the 27 patients tested), 31% had aCGH (abnormal in 1 of the 14 patients tested), and 31% had diepoxybutane (DEB) testing for Fanconi anemia (abnormal in 2 of the 14 patients tested). One patient had exome sequencing studies, but no candidate gene was identified. Various anomalies were associated with EA, and overall a genetic variant could be identified in 7 of the 33 patients tested. Chromosomal studies such as aCGH and chromosomal breakage studies should be considered, and their yield varied between 7 and 14%. Other genetic investigations such as exome sequencing could possibly have even higher yields but will need to be assessed in a large cohort. Improved genetic diagnoses in EA may improve the management of these patients by directing specific surveillance and management schemes.

Keywords: Diepoxybutane test; Esophageal atresia; Tracheo-esophageal fistula; VACTERL; aCGH.