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Am J Hum Genet. 1997 May;60(5):1202-10.

The likelihood of being affected with Huntington disease by a particular age, for a specific CAG size.

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Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Prior studies describing the relationship between CAG size and the age at onset of Huntington disease (HD) have focused on affected persons. To further define the relationship between CAG repeat size and age at onset of HD, we now have analyzed a large cohort of affected and asymptomatic at-risk persons with CAG expansion. This cohort numbered 1,049 persons, including 321 at-risk and 728 affected individuals with a CAG size of 29-121 repeats. Kaplan-Meier analysis has provided curves for determining the likelihood of onset at a given age, for each CAG repeat length in the 39-50 range. The curves were significantly different (P < .0005), with relatively narrow 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) (+/-10%). Penetrance of the mutation for HD also was examined. Although complete penetrance of HD was observed for CAG sizes of > or = 42, only a proportion of those with a CAG repeat length of 36-41 showed signs or symptoms of HD within a normal life span. These data provide information concerning the likelihood of being affected, by a specific age, with a particular CAG size, and they may be useful in predictive-testing programs and for the design of clinical trials for persons at increased risk for HD.

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