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It Is Not Carved in Stone – The Need for a Genetic Reevaluation of Variants in Pediatric Cardiomyopathies

A recent article published by our colleagues in the Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease reports that in patients with childhood-onset cardiomyopathies, nearly 30% of reported genetic variants are found to be (likely) benign upon reclassification. Given the impact on patient management and cascade screening, this finding underlines the importance of continuous genetic counseling and variant reclassification.

Abstract

(1) Background: In cardiomyopathies, identification of genetic variants is important for the correct diagnosis and impacts family cascade screening. A classification system was published by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) in 2015 to standardize variants’ classification. The aim of the study was to determine the rate of reclassification of previously identified variants in patients with childhood-onset cardiomyopathies.

(2) Methods: Medical records of patients and their relatives were screened for clinical and genetic information at the Department of Congenital Heart Defects and Pediatric Cardiology, German Heart Center Munich. Patients without an identified genetic variant were excluded from further analyses. Previously reported variants were reevaluated by the ACMG criteria in November 2021.

(3) Results: Data from 167 patients or relatives of patients with childhood-onset cardiomyopathy from 137 families were analyzed. In total, 45 different genetic variants were identified in 71 individuals. Classification changed in 29% (13/45) with the greatest shift in “variants of unknown significance” to “(likely) benign” (9/13).

(4) Conclusions: In patients with childhood-onset cardiomyopathies, nearly a third of reported genetic variants change mostly to more benign classes upon reclassification. Given the impact on patient management and cascade screening, this finding underlines the importance of continuous genetic counseling and variant.

Reference

Westphal DS, Pollmann K, Marschall C, Wacker-Gussmann A, Oberhoffer-Fritz R, Laugwitz KL, Ewert P, Wolf CM. It Is Not Carved in Stone-The Need for a Genetic Reevaluation of Variants in Pediatric Cardiomyopathies. J Cardiovasc Dev Dis. 2022 Jan 25;9(2):41. doi: 10.3390/jcdd9020041. PMID: 35200695; PMCID: PMC8875742. https://www.mdpi.com/2308-3425/9/2/41

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