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Matching clinical and genetic diagnoses in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease reveals novel phenocopies and potential candidate genes.

PURPOSE: Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) represents the most common hereditary nephropathy. Despite growing evidence for genetic heterogeneity, ADPKD diagnosis is still primarily based upon clinical imaging criteria established before discovery of additional PKD genes. This study aimed at assessing the diagnostic value of genetic verification in clinical ADPKD.

METHODS: In this prospective, diagnostic trial, 100 families with clinically diagnosed ADPKD were analyzed by PKD gene panel and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA); exome sequencing (ES) was performed in panel/MLPA-negative families.

RESULTS: Diagnostic PKD1/2 variants were identified in 81 families (81%), 70 of which in PKD1 and 11 in PKD2. PKD1 variants of unknown significance were detected in another 9 families (9%). Renal survival was significantly worse upon PKD1 truncation versus nontruncation and PKD2 alteration. Ten percent of the cohort were PKD1/2-negative, revealing alternative genetic diagnoses such as autosomal recessive PKD, Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome, and ALG9-associated PKD. In addition, among unsolved cases, ES yielded potential novel PKD candidates.

CONCLUSION: By illustrating vast genetic heterogeneity, this study demonstrates the value of genetic testing in a real-world PKD cohort by diagnostic verification, falsification, and disease prediction. In the era of specific treatment for fast progressive ADPKD, genetic confirmation should form the basis of personalized patient care.

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