Background Fanconi anaemia (FA) is a rare syndrome characterized by bone marrow failure, malformations and cancer predisposition. Chromosome fragility induced by DNA interstrand crosslink (ICL)-inducing agents such as diepoxybutane (DEB) or mitomycin C (MMC) is the ‘gold standard’ test for the diagnosis of FA.
Objective To study the variability, the diagnostic implications and the clinical impact of chromosome fragility in FA.
Methods Data are presented from 198 DEB-induced chromosome fragility tests in patients with and without FA where information on genetic subtype, cell sensitivity to MMC and clinical data were available.
Results This large series allowed quantification of the variability and the level of overlap in ICL sensitivity among patients with FA and the normal population. A new chromosome fragility index is proposed that provides a cut-off diagnostic level to unambiguously distinguish patients with FA, including mosaics, from non-FA individuals. Spontaneous chromosome fragility and its correlation with DEB-induced fragility was also analysed, indicating that although both variables are correlated, 54% of patients with FA do not have spontaneous fragility. The data reveal a correlation between malformations and sensitivity to ICL-inducing agents. This correlation was also statistically significant when the analysis was restricted to patients from the FA-A complementation group. Finally, chromosome fragility does not correlate with the age of onset of haematological disease.
Conclusions This study proposes a new chromosome fragility index and suggests that genome instability during embryo development may be related to malformations in FA, while DEB-induced chromosome breaks in T cells have no prognostic value for the haematological disease.
- Diagnostics tests
- haematology (including blood transfusion)
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Funding This work was funded by the Generalitat de Catalunya (SGR0489-2009), the La Caixa Fundation Oncology Program (BM05-67-0), Fundación Genoma España, the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (projects FIS PI06-1099, CB06/07/0023, SAF2006-3440, SAF2009-11936, SAF2009-07164 and PLE 2009-0100), the Commission of the European Union (project RISC-RAD FI6R-CT-2003-508842 and VII FWP PERSIST 222878), and the European Regional Development Funds. CIBERER is an initiative of the Instituto de Salud Carlos III.
Competing interests None.
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona Ethical Committee on Human Research.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.