The role of exome sequencing in childhood interstitial or diffuse lung disease

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2022 Sep 9;17(1):350. doi: 10.1186/s13023-022-02508-1.


Background: Children's interstitial and diffuse lung disease (chILD) is a complex heterogeneous group of lung disorders. Gene panel approaches have a reported diagnostic yield of ~ 12%. No data currently exist using trio exome sequencing as the standard diagnostic modality. We assessed the diagnostic utility of using trio exome sequencing in chILD. We prospectively enrolled children meeting specified clinical criteria between 2016 and 2020 from 16 Australian hospitals. Exome sequencing was performed with analysis of an initial gene panel followed by trio exome analysis. A subset of critically ill infants underwent ultra-rapid trio exome sequencing as first-line test.

Results: 36 patients [median (range) age 0.34 years (0.02-11.46); 11F] were recruited from multiple States and Territories. Five patients had clinically significant likely pathogenic/pathogenic variants (RARB, RPL15, CTCF, RFXANK, TBX4) and one patient had a variant of uncertain significance (VIP) suspected to contribute to their clinical phenotype, with VIP being a novel gene candidate.

Conclusions: Trio exomes (6/36; 16.7%) had a better diagnostic rate than gene panel (1/36; 2.8%), due to the ability to consider a broader range of underlying conditions. However, the aetiology of chILD in most cases remained undetermined, likely reflecting the interplay between low penetrant genetic and environmental factors.

Keywords: Genetics; Interstitial lung disease; Paediatric lung disease; Paediatrics; Rare lung diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Exome Sequencing
  • Exome* / genetics
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases*