Utility of clinical comprehensive genomic characterization for diagnostic categorization in patients presenting with hypocellular bone marrow failure syndromes

Piers A. Blombery, Lucy Fox, Georgina Ryland, Ella R. Thompson, Jennifer Lickiss, Michelle McBean, Satwica Yerneni, David Hughes, Anthea Greenway, Francoise Mechinaud, Erica M. Wood, Graham Lieschke, Jeff Szer, Pasquale Barbaro, John Roy, Joel Wight, Elly Lynch, Melissa Martyn, Clara Gaff, David Ritchie

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Bone marrow failure (BMF) related to hypoplasia of hematopoietic elements in the bone marrow is a heterogeneous clinical entity with a broad differential diagnosis including both inherited and acquired causes. Accurate diagnostic categorization is critical to optimal patient care and detection of genomic variants in these patients may provide this important diagnostic and prognostic information. We performed real-time, accredited (ISO15189) comprehensive genomic characterization including targeted sequencing and whole exome sequencing in 115 patients with BMF syndromes (median age 24 years, range: 3 months - 81 years). In patients with clinical diagnoses of inherited BMF syndromes, acquired BMF syndromes or clinically unclassifiable BMF we detected variants in 52% (12 of 23), 53% (25 of 47) and 56% (25 of 45) respectively. Genomic characterization resulted in a change of diagnosis in 30 of 115 (26%) including the identification of germline causes for 3 of 47 and 16 of 45 cases with pre-test diagnoses of acquired and clinically unclassifiable BMF respectively. The observed clinical impact of accurate diagnostic categorization included choice to perform allogeneic stem cell transplantation, disease-specific targeted treatments, identification of at-risk family members and influence of sibling allogeneic stem cell donor choice. Multiple novel pathogenic variants and copy number changes were identified in our cohort including in TERT, FANCA, RPS7 and SAMD9. Whole exome sequence analysis facilitated the identification of variants in two genes not typically associated with a primary clinical manifestation of BMF but also demonstrated reduced sensitivity for detecting low level acquired variants. In conclusion, genomic characterization can improve diagnostic categorization of patients presenting with hypoplastic BMF syndromes and should be routinely performed in this group of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-73
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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