Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 813–818 | Cite as

False-positive results in neonatal screening for cystic fibrosis based on a three-stage protocol (IRT/DNA/IRT): Should we adjust IRT cut-off to ethnic origin?

  • D. Cheillan
  • M. Vercherat
  • F. Chevalier-Porst
  • M. Charcosset
  • M. O. Rolland
  • C. Dorche
Article

Summary

Since 1979, newborn screening for cystic fibrosis (CF) has been possible by measuring immunoreactive tryspinogen (IRT) in blood spots. In France, a programme based on a three-stage strategy (IRT/DNA/IRT) started in 2002. In the Rhône-Alpes area, the positive screening rate (i.e. the proportion of samples sent for genotyping) observed after the first IRT measurement was higher than the expected rate (0.65% versus 0.50%), without a greater CF incidence. We hypothesized that the IRT reference range could differ according to the ethnic origin of the newborns. 35 141 newborns were studied and divided into two groups: European ethnic group 26 324 (75%) and North African ethnic group 8817 (25%). 243 positive newborns were identified: 146 (60%) in the European ethnic group and 97 (40%) in the North African ethnic group. Three CF patients and 11 unaffected heterozygotes were found in the European group, but no mutations were found in the North African group. Mean IRT values and the percentage of IRT values over the cut-off were significantly higher in the North African group than in the European group (mean IRT = 21.17 μg/L and 19.74 μg/L, p < 0.0001; %IRT > cut-off = 1.1% and 0.5%, respectively). For the positive screened newborns, term and IRT mean were comparable, whereas birth weight was higher in the North African ethnic group. These results lead us to conclude that (i) newborns from families of North African origin have higher IRT values and (ii) most of the positive screened newborns in this population could be considered as ‘false positives’. These conclusions could explain, in part, the large variations seen in the positive screening rate in the French CF neonatal screening and raise the question whether it is relevant to adapt cut-off to ethnic origin of the newborns.

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Copyright information

© SSIEM and Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Cheillan
    • 1
  • M. Vercherat
    • 2
  • F. Chevalier-Porst
    • 1
  • M. Charcosset
    • 1
  • M. O. Rolland
    • 1
  • C. Dorche
    • 1
  1. 1.Service de Biochimie PédiatriqueUnité de Dépistage Néonatal – Hôpital DebrousseLyonFrance
  2. 2.Service de PédiatrieCentre HospitalierChambéryFrance

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