Cat eye syndrome: Clinical, cytogenetics and familial findings in a large cohort of 43 patients highlighting the importance of congenital heart disease and inherited cases

Am J Med Genet A. 2024 Apr;194(4):e63476. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.63476. Epub 2023 Nov 16.


Cat Eye Syndrome (CES) is a rare genetic disease caused by the presence of a small supernumerary marker chromosome derived from chromosome 22, which results in a partial tetrasomy of 22p-22q11.21. CES is classically defined by association of iris coloboma, anal atresia, and preauricular tags or pits, with high clinical and genetic heterogeneity. We conducted an international retrospective study of patients carrying genomic gain in the 22q11.21 chromosomal region upstream from LCR22-A identified using FISH, MLPA, and/or array-CGH. We report a cohort of 43 CES cases. We highlight that the clinical triad represents no more than 50% of cases. However, only 16% of CES patients presented with the three signs of the triad and 9% not present any of these three signs. We also highlight the importance of other impairments: cardiac anomalies are one of the major signs of CES (51% of cases), and high frequency of intellectual disability (47%). Ocular motility defects (45%), abdominal malformations (44%), ophthalmologic malformations (35%), and genitourinary tract defects (32%) are other frequent clinical features. We observed that sSMC is the most frequent chromosomal anomaly (91%) and we highlight the high prevalence of mosaic cases (40%) and the unexpectedly high prevalence of parental transmission of sSMC (23%). Most often, the transmitting parent has mild or absent features and carries the mosaic marker at a very low rate (<10%). These data allow us to better delineate the clinical phenotype associated with CES, which must be taken into account in the cytogenetic testing for this syndrome. These findings draw attention to the need for genetic counseling and the risk of recurrence.

Keywords: 22q11.2 region; FISH; array-CGH; cat eye syndrome; congenital heart disease; eye anomalies; familial disease; heart defect; mosacism; parental transmission; small supernumerary marker chromosome (sSMC).

MeSH terms

  • Aneuploidy*
  • Chromosome Disorders*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 22* / genetics
  • Eye Abnormalities*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital* / genetics
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Retrospective Studies

Supplementary concepts

  • Schmid-Fraccaro syndrome