Molecular Diagnosis and Genetic Counseling of Cystic Fibrosis and Related Disorders: New Challenges

Genes (Basel). 2020 Jun 4;11(6):619. doi: 10.3390/genes11060619.


Identification of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene and its numerous variants opened the way to fantastic breakthroughs in diagnosis, research and treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF). The current and future challenges of molecular diagnosis of CF and CFTR-related disorders and of genetic counseling are here reviewed. Technological advances have enabled to make a diagnosis of CF with a sensitivity of 99% by using next generation sequencing in a single step. The detection of heretofore unidentified variants and ethnic-specific variants remains challenging, especially for newborn screening (NBS), CF carrier testing and genotype-guided therapy. Among the criteria for assessing the impact of variants, population genetics data are insufficiently taken into account and the penetrance of CF associated with CFTR variants remains poorly known. The huge diversity of diagnostic and genetic counseling indications for CFTR studies makes assessment of variant disease-liability critical. This is especially discussed in the perspective of wide genome analyses for NBS and CF carrier screening in the general population, as future challenges.

Keywords: CFTR; CFTR variants; CFTR-related disorders; Next Generation Sequencing (NGS); cystic fibrosis; disease liability; genotype-guided therapy; interpretation; molecular diagnosis; penetrance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cystic Fibrosis / diagnosis*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / genetics
  • Cystic Fibrosis / pathology
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator / genetics*
  • Genetic Counseling*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Screening
  • Pathology, Molecular*
  • Penetrance


  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator