Performance of Expanded Newborn Screening in Norway Supported by Post-Analytical Bioinformatics Tools and Rapid Second-Tier DNA Analyses

Int J Neonatal Screen. 2020 Jun 27;6(3):51. doi: 10.3390/ijns6030051. eCollection 2020 Sep.


In 2012, the Norwegian newborn screening program (NBS) was expanded (eNBS) from screening for two diseases to that for 23 diseases (20 inborn errors of metabolism, IEMs) and again in 2018, to include a total of 25 conditions (21 IEMs). Between 1 March 2012 and 29 February 2020, 461,369 newborns were screened for 20 IEMs in addition to phenylketonuria (PKU). Excluding PKU, there were 75 true-positive (TP) (1:6151) and 107 (1:4311) false-positive IEM cases. Twenty-one percent of the TP cases were symptomatic at the time of the NBS results, but in two-thirds, the screening result directed the exact diagnosis. Eighty-two percent of the TP cases had good health outcomes, evaluated in 2020. The yearly positive predictive value was increased from 26% to 54% by the use of the Region 4 Stork post-analytical interpretive tool (R4S)/Collaborative Laboratory Integrated Reports 2.0 (CLIR), second-tier biochemical testing and genetic confirmation using DNA extracted from the original dried blood spots. The incidence of IEMs increased by 46% after eNBS was introduced, predominantly due to the finding of attenuated phenotypes. The next step is defining which newborns would truly benefit from screening at the milder end of the disease spectrum. This will require coordinated international collaboration, including proper case definitions and outcome studies.

Keywords: CLIR; cut-off values; dried blood spots; newborn screening; outcome; second-tier DNA testing.