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Incidence of Huntington disease in a northeastern Spanish region: a 13-year retrospective study at tertiary care centre.

BMC Medical Genetics 2020 November 24
BACKGROUND: Despite the progress in the knowledge of Huntington disease (HD) in recent years, the epidemiology continues uncertain, so the study of incidence becomes relevant. This is important since various factors (type of population, diagnostic criteria, disease-modifying factors, etc.) make these data highly variable. Therefore, the genetic diagnosis of these patients is important, since it unequivocally allows the detection of new cases.

METHODS: Descriptive retrospective study with 179 individuals. Incidence of HD was calculated from the ratio of number of symptomatic cases newly diagnosed per 100,000 inhabitants per year during the period 2007-2019 in Aragon (Spain).

RESULTS: 50 (27.9%) incident cases of HD (CAG repeat length ≥ 36) were identified from a total of 179 persons studied. The remaining 129/179 (72.1%) were HD negative (CAG repeat length < 36). 29 (58.0%) females and 21 (42.0%) males were confirmed as HD cases. The overall incidence was 0.648 per 100,000 patient-years. 11/50 positive HD cases (22.0%) were identified by performing a predictive test, without clinical symptoms. The minimum number of CAG repeats found was 9 and the most common CAG length among HD negative individuals was 16.

CONCLUSIONS: Our incidence lied within the range reported for other Caucasian populations. Implementation of new techniques has allowed to determine the exact number of CAG repeats, which is especially important in patients with triplet expansions in an HD intermediate and/or incomplete penetrance allele, both in diagnostic, predictive and prenatal tests.

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