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Genetic and clinical findings in a large cohort of Chinese patients with suspected retinitis pigmentosa

Feng-Juan Gao, Jian-Kang Li, Han Chen, Fang-Yuan Hu, Sheng-Hai Zhang, Yu-He Qi, Ping Xu, Dan-Dan Wang, Lu-Sheng Wang, Qing Chang, Yong-Jin Zhang, Wei Liu, Wei Li, Min Wang, Fang Chen, Ge-Zhi Xu, Ji-Hong Wu
Ophthalmology 2019 May 1

PURPOSE: To characterize the genetic landscape of patients with suspected retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in the Chinese population.

DESIGN: Cohort study.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1243 patients of Chinese origin with clinically suspected RP and their available family members (n=2701) were recruited.

METHODS: All patients and available family members were screened using multigene panel testing (including 586 eye disease-associated genes), followed by clinical variant interpretation.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Diagnostic yield, the 17 most commonly implicated genes, age at onset, de novo mutations and clinical usefulness of genetic testing.

RESULTS: Overall, 72.08% of patients received a molecular diagnosis, and the 17 top genes covered 75.63% of diagnostic cases. Diagnostic yield was higher among patients in the early-onset subgroup (≤5 years old, 79.58%) than in the childhood or adolescence-onset subgroup (6-16 years old,73.74%) and late-onset subgroup (≥17 years old,65.99%). Moreover, different genes associated with different onset ages, and subgroups with different onset ages showed a diverse mutation spectrum. Only 11 de novo mutations (3.18%) were identified. Furthermore, 16.84% of the patients who received a molecular diagnosis had refinement of the initial clinical diagnoses, and the remaining 83.16% received definite genetic subtypes of RP.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the largest study to date that provides population-based data of the genome landscape of patients with suspected RP in China. The diagnostic yield was significantly higher than that in previous studies and the mutation spectrum is completely different with other populations. Genetic testing improves the chance to establish a precise diagnosis, identifies features not previously determined, and allows a more accurate refinement of risk to family members. Our results not only expand the existing genotypic spectrum, but also serve as an efficient reference for the design of panel-based genetic diagnostic testing and genetic counseling for patients with suspected RP in China.


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