VACTERL-H Association and Fanconi Anemia

B P Alter, P S Rosenberg
Molecular Syndromology 2013, 4 (1-2): 87-93
Patients with Fanconi anemia (FA) often have birth defects that suggest the diagnosis of VATER association. A review of 2,245 cases of FA reported in the literature from 1927 to 2012 identified 108 cases with at least 3 of the defining features of VATER association; only 29 had been so noted by the authors. The FA VATER signature was the significantly higher frequency of renal and limb (radial and/or thumb) anomalies (93% of cases had both) compared with less than 30% of VATER patients; the presence of one or both of these birth defects should lead to testing for FA. The relative frequencies of the genotypes of the patients with FA VATER were strikingly different from those expected from the general FA population; only 19% were FANCA, while 21% were FANCB, 14% FANCD1/BRCA2, and 12% FANCD2. Consistent with their genotypes, those with the FA VATER phenotype had a worse prognosis than FA patients with milder phenotypes, with shorter median survival and earlier onset of malignancies. The early identification of FA patients among infants with VATER association should lead to earlier more proactive management, such as cancer surveillance and genetic counseling.

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