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Clinical presentation of 13 patients with subtelomeric rearrangements and a review of the literature.


To re-examine the potential clinical indications for subtelomeric FISH testing and to provide additional cases to the growing literature on subtelomeric abnormalities and their genotype-phenotype correlations, we present a single center case series of 13 patients with chromosomal abnormalities detected by subtelomeric FISH testing over a 21 month period. The most common abnormality involved chromosome 1p (23%). Partial monosomy was present in 69% of the patients, complex rearrangements in 23%, and partial trisomy in 8%. The mean time from first normal karyotype to positive subtelomeric FISH result was 3.8 years (n = 11, median 3.5 years, range: 6 months-10 years). One patient had an abnormal high resolution karyotype recognized retrospectively, and two other patients had abnormal karyotypes that were fully deciphered only after subtelomeric FISH analysis. Eighty five percent of cases occurred de novo. The subtelomeric FISH results were useful for adjusting the recurrence risks and helping to focus medical screening and monitoring. The results impacted family planning and satisfied families in search of a diagnosis. Our findings support the use of subtelomeric FISH analysis as a second tier test in patients suspected of having a chromosomal abnormality with a normal karyotype. Potential benefits of subtelomeric FISH testing include faster time to diagnosis, better informed patient prognosis, and more accurate genetic counseling.

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