Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Obstetrical, perinatal, and genetic outcomes associated with nonreportable prenatal cell-free DNA screening results.pdf (366.45 kB)

Obstetrical, perinatal, and genetic outcomes associated with nonreportable prenatal cell-free DNA screening results

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posted on 2023-05-10, 16:26 authored by Mary E Norton, Cora MacPherson, Zachary Demko, Melissa Egbert, Fergal MaloneFergal Malone, Ronald J Wapner, Ashley S Roman, Asma Khalil, Revital Faro, Rajeevi Madankumar, Noel Strong, Sina Haeri, Robert Silver, Nidhi Vohra, Jon Hyett, Kimberly Martin, Matthew Rabinowitz, Bo Jacobsson, Pe'er Dar

Background: The clinical implications of nonreportable cell-free DNA screening results are uncertain, but such results may indicate poor placental implantation in some cases and be associated with adverse obstetrical and perinatal outcomes.

Objective: This study aimed to assess the outcomes of pregnancies with nonreportable cell-free DNA screening in a cohort of patients with complete genetic and obstetrical outcomes.

Study design: This was a prespecified secondary analysis of a multicenter prospective observational study of prenatal cell-free DNA screening for fetal aneuploidy and 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. Participants who underwent cell-free DNA screening from April 2015 through January 2019 were offered participation. Obstetrical outcomes and neonatal genetic testing results were collected from 21 primary-care and referral centers in the United States, Europe, and Australia. The primary outcome was risk for adverse obstetrical and perinatal outcomes (aneuploidy, preterm birth at <28, <34, and <37 weeks' gestation, preeclampsia, small for gestational age or birthweight <10th percentile for gestational week, and a composite outcome that included preterm birth at <37 weeks, preeclampsia, small for gestational age, and stillbirth at >20 weeks) after nonreportable cell-free DNA screening because of low fetal fraction or other causes. Multivariable analyses were performed, adjusting for variables known to be associated with obstetrical and perinatal outcomes, nonreportable results, or fetal fraction.

Results: In total, 25,199 pregnant individuals were screened, and 20,194 were enrolled. Genetic confirmation was missing in 1165 (5.8%), 1085 (5.4%) were lost to follow-up, and 93 (0.5%) withdrew; the final study cohort included 17,851 (88.4%) participants who had cell-free DNA, fetal or newborn genetic confirmatory testing, and obstetrical and perinatal outcomes collected. Results were nonreportable in 602 (3.4%) participants. A sample was redrawn and testing attempted again in 427; in 112 (26.2%) participants, results were again nonreportable. Nonreportable results were associated with higher body mass index, chronic hypertension, later gestational age, lower fetal fraction, and Black race. Trisomy 13, 18, or 21 was confirmed in 1.6% with nonreportable tests vs 0.7% with reported results (P=.013). Rates of preterm birth at <28, 34, and 37 weeks, preeclampsia, and the composite outcome were higher among participants with nonreportable results, and further increased among those with a second nonreportable test, whereas the rate of small for gestational age infants was not increased. After adjustment for confounders, the adjusted odds ratios were 2.2 (95% confidence interval, 1.1-4.4) and 2.6 (95% confidence interval, 0.6-10.8) for aneuploidy, and 1.5 (95% confidence interval, 1.2-1.8) and 2.1 (95% confidence interval, 1.4-3.2) for the composite outcome after a first and second nonreportable test, respectively. Of the patients with nonreportable tests, 94.9% had a live birth, as opposed to 98.8% of those with reported test results (adjusted odds ratio for livebirth, 0.20 [95% confidence interval, 0.13-0.30]).

Conclusion: Patients with nonreportable cell-free DNA results are at increased risk for a number of adverse outcomes, including aneuploidy, preeclampsia, and preterm birth. They should be offered diagnostic genetic testing, and clinicians should be aware of the increased risk of pregnancy complications.





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Published Citation

Norton ME. et al. Obstetrical, perinatal, and genetic outcomes associated with nonreportable prenatal cell-free DNA screening results. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2023;229(3):300.e1-300.e9

Publication Date

23 March 2023

PubMed ID



  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology




  • Published Version (Version of Record)