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Dual rare genetic diseases in five pediatric patients: insights from next-generation diagnostic methods.

BACKGROUND: Clinicians traditionally aim to identify a singular explanation for the clinical presentation of a patient; however, in some cases, the diagnosis may remain elusive or fail to comprehensively explain the clinical findings. In recent years, advancements in next-generation sequencing, including whole-exome sequencing, have led to the incidental identification of dual diagnoses in patients. Herein we present the cases of five pediatric patients diagnosed with dual rare genetic diseases. Their natural history and diagnostic process were explored, and lessons learned from utilizing next-generation diagnostic technologies have been reported.

RESULTS: Five pediatric cases (3 boys, 2 girls) with dual diagnoses were reported. The age at diagnosis was from 3 months to 10 years. The main clinical presentations were psychomotor retardation and increased muscular tension, some accompanied with liver dysfunction, abnormal appearance, precocious puberty, dorsiflexion restriction and varus of both feet, etc. After whole-exome sequencing, nine diseases were confirmed in these patients: Angelman syndrome and Krabbe disease in case 1, Citrin deficiency and Kabuki syndrome in case 2, Homocysteinemia type 2 and Copy number variant in case 3, Isolated methylmalonic acidemia and Niemann-Pick disease type B in case 4, Isolated methylmalonic acidemia and 21-hydroxylase deficiency in case 5. Fifteen gene mutations and 2 CNVs were identified. Four novel mutations were observed, including c.15292de1A in KMT2D, c.159_164inv and c.1427G > A in SLC25A13, and c.591 C > G in MTHFR.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings underscore the importance of clinicians being vigilant about the significance of historical and physical examination. Comprehensive clinical experience is crucial for identifying atypical clinical features, particularly in cases involving dual rare genetic diseases.

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