Improving hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia molecular diagnosis: A referral center experience | Aguilera C, et al | Genes | Mar. 2023

Nonacus product: Germline


Background: Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is a rare vascular disease inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. Disease-causing variants in endoglin (ENG) and activin A receptor type II-like 1 (ACVRL1) genes are detected in more than 90% of the patients undergoing molecular testing. The identification of variants of unknown significance is often seen as a challenge in clinical practice that makes family screening and genetic counseling difficult. Here, we show that the implementation of cDNA analysis to assess the effect of splice site variants on mRNA splicing is a powerful tool. Methods: Gene panel sequencing of genes associated with HHT and other arteriovenous malformation-related syndromes was performed. To evaluate the effect of the splice site variants, cDNA analysis of ENG and ACVRL1 genes was carried out. Results: three novel splice site variants were identified in ENG (c.68-2A > T and c.1311+4_1311+8del) and ACVLR1 (c.526-6C > G) genes correspondingly in three individuals with HHT that met ≥ 3 Curaçao criteria. All three variants led to an aberrant splicing inducing exon skipping (ENG:c.68-2A > T and ACVRL1:c.526-6C > G) or intron retention (ENG:c.1311+4_1311+8del) allowing the confirmation of the predicted effect on splicing and the reclassification from unknown significance to pathogenic/likely pathogenic of two of them. Conclusions: RNA analysis should be performed to assess and/or confirm the impact of variants on splicing. The molecular diagnosis of HHT patients is crucial to allow family screening and accurate genetic counseling. A multidisciplinary approach including clinicians and geneticists is crucial when dealing with patients with rare diseases.