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Eur J Hum Genet. 2010 Oct;18(10):1084-9. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2010.78. Epub 2010 May 26.

Uptake of carrier testing in families after cystic fibrosis diagnosis through newborn screening.

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  • 1Genetics Education and Health Research, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Newborn screening (NBS) for cystic fibrosis (CF) provides the opportunity for cascade carrier testing of relatives. Uptake of testing by adult non-parent relatives of children diagnosed with CF through NBS has not been previously described, and this study describes uptake by both parents and adult non-parent relatives in Victoria, Australia. Pedigrees were taken from parents of children who were born in 2000-2004 and diagnosed with CF. A total of 40 families were eligible for the study and 30 (75%) were recruited. In all, 716 non-parent relatives were identified from the pedigrees as eligible for carrier testing, and 82 (adjusted uptake percentage: 11.8%; 95% confidence interval 8.0-15.7) have had carrier testing by March 2009. On average, 2.7 non-parent relatives per family had CF carrier testing after diagnosis through NBS. The odds of being tested were greater for females than males (adjusted odds ratio 1.61; 95% confidence interval 1.11-2.33; P=0.01) and greater for those more closely related to the child with CF (adjusted odds ratio 5.17; 95% confidence interval 2.38-11.24; P<0.001). Most relatives who undergo testing are tested immediately after the baby's diagnosis; however, some testing is undertaken up to 8 years later. These results indicate that in a clinical setting, the diagnosis of a baby with CF by NBS does not lead to carrier testing for the majority of the baby's non-parent relatives. We suggest re-contact with parents to offer cascade carrier testing.

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