The quantitative fluorescent PCR (QF-PCR) assay, introduced during the last few years, allows prenatal diagnoses of common chromosome aneuploidies in a few hours after sampling. We report the first assessment of QF-PCR performed on a large cohort of 18 000 consecutive clinical specimens analysed in two different Centres. All samples were analysed by QF-PCR using several selected STR markers together with amelogenin and, occasionally, SRY for fetal sexing. Results were compared with those obtained by conventional cytogenetic analysis. In 17 129 tests, normal fetuses were detected by QF-PCR. No false positives were observed. All 732 cases of trisomy 21, 18, 13, triploidies, double trisomies as well as all but one fetuses with X and Y aneuploidies were correctly diagnosed. Chromosome mosaicism could also be suspected in several samples. In some cases of in vitro culture failures, QF-PCR was the only evidence of fetal X, Y, 21, 18 and 13 chromosome complement. QF-PCR proved to be efficient and reliable in detecting major numerical chromosome disorders. The main advantages of the molecular assay are its very low cost, speed and automation enabling a single operator to perform up to 40 assays per day. QF-PCR relieves anxiety of most parents within 24 h from sampling and accelerates therapeutic interventions in the case of an abnormal result. In countries where large scale conventional cytogenetics is hampered by its high cost and lack of technical expertise, QF-PCR may be used as the only prenatal diagnostic test. © European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology 2004; all rights reserved.
- Rapid prenatal diagnosis