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Next-generation sequencing in childhood-onset epilepsies: Diagnostic yield and impact on neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis type 2 disease diagnosis
Sep 24, 2021

PLOS ONE (2021) 16:9. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0255933

Abstract

Epilepsy is one of the most common childhood-onset neurological conditions with a genetic etiology. Genetic diagnosis provides potential for etiologically-based management and treatment. Existing research has focused on early-onset (<24 months) epilepsies; data regarding later-onset epilepsies is limited.

The goal of this study was to determine the diagnostic yield of a clinically available epilepsy panel in a selected pediatric epilepsy cohort with epilepsy onset between 24–60 months of life and evaluate whether this approach decreases the age of diagnosis of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis type 2 (CLN2). Next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based epilepsy panels, including genes associated with epileptic encephalopathies and inborn errors of metabolism (IEMs) that present with epilepsy, were used. Copy-number variant (CNV) detection from NGS data was included. Variant interpretation was performed per American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) guidelines. Results are reported from 211 consecutive patients with the following inclusion criteria: 24–60 months of age at the time of enrollment, first unprovoked seizure at/after 24 months, and at least one additional finding such as EEG/MRI abnormalities, speech delay, or motor symptoms. Median age was 42 months at testing and 30 months at first seizure onset; the mean delay from first seizure to comprehensive genetic testing was 10.3 months.

A genetic diagnosis was established in 43 patients (20.4%). CNVs were reported in 25.6% diagnosed patients; 27.3% of CNVs identified were intragenic. Within the diagnosed cohort, 11 (25.6%) patients were diagnosed with an IEM. The predominant molecular diagnosis was CLN2 (14% of diagnosed patients). For these patients, diagnosis was achieved 12–24 months earlier than reported by natural history of the disease.

This study supports comprehensive genetic testing for patients whose first seizure occurs ≥ 24 months of age. It also supports early application of testing in this age group, as the identified diagnoses can have significant impact on patient management and outcome.

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Gall K, Izzo E, Seppälä E, Alakurtti K, Koskinen L, Saarinen I, Singh A, Myllykangas S, Koskenvuo J, and Alastalo T. 

Last modified: September 24, 2021