Comprehensive Carrier Screening and Molecular Diagnostic Testing for Recessive Childhood Diseases

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Of 7,028 disorders with suspected Mendelian inheritance, 1,139 are recessive and have an established molecular basis. Although individually uncommon, Mendelian diseases collectively account for ~20% of infant mortality and ~18% of pediatric hospitalizations. Molecular diagnostic testing is currently available for only ~300 recessive disorders. Preconception screening, together with genetic counseling of carriers, has resulted in remarkable declines in the incidence of several severe recessive diseases including Tay-Sachs disease and cystic fibrosis. However, extension of preconception screening and molecular diagnostic testing to most recessive disease genes has hitherto been impractical. Recently, we reported a preconception carrier screen / molecular diagnostic test for 448 recessive childhood diseases. The current status of this test is reviewed here. Currently, this reports analytical validity of the comprehensive carrier test. As the clinical validity and clinical utility in the contexts described is ascertained, this article will be updated.

Fecal DNA testing for Colorectal Cancer Screening: the ColoSure™ test

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Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Screening has been shown to be effective in reducing colorectal cancer incidence and mortality. Colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and fecal occult blood tests are all recommended screening tests that have widespread availability. Nevertheless, many people do not receive the evidence-based recommended screening for colorectal cancer. Additional stool-based methods have been developed that offer more options for colorectal cancer screening, including a variety of fecal DNA tests. The only fecal DNA test that is currently available commercially in the United States is ColoSure(TM), which is marketed as a non-invasive test that detects an epigenetic marker (methylated vimentin) associated with colorectal cancer and pre-cancerous adenomas. We examined the published literature on the analytic validity, clinical validity, and clinical utility of ColoSure and we briefly summarized the current colorectal cancer screening guidelines regarding fecal DNA testing. We also addressed the public health implications of the test and contextual issues surrounding the integration of fecal DNA testing into current colorectal cancer screening strategies. The primary goal was to provide a basic overview of ColoSure and identify gaps in knowledge and evidence that affect the recommendation and adoption of the test in colorectal cancer screening strategies.