Should we offer prenatal exome sequencing for intrauterine growth restriction or short long bones? A systematic review and meta-analysis

F. Mone et al. (2022) American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology - Article in Press.

Nonacus Products: Cell3 Target: Prenatal Healthcare



This study aimed to determine the incremental yield of prenatal exome sequencing over chromosomal microarray or G-banding karyotype in fetuses with: (1) intrauterine growth restriction related to placental insufficiency or (2) short long bones, in isolated and nonisolated instances for both scenarios.

Included were prospective or retrospective cohort studies and/or case series with: (1) n>5 cases of short long bones and/or intrauterine growth restriction undergoing prenatal sequencing with a clearly defined phenotype including assessment of placental function; (2) testing based on prenatal phenotype only; (3) a nondiagnostic chromosomal microarray/karyotype; and (4) known results of genetic testing.


Incremental yield was calculated for each study and as a pooled value for the aforementioned groups using a random-effects model. Results were displayed in forest plots with 95% confidence intervals. Heterogeneity was assessed statistically using Higgins’ I2. Publication bias was assessed graphically using funnel plots. Quality assessment was performed using modified Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy criteria (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews registration number CRD42022324680).


Nineteen studies were included (n=452 cases). The apparent incremental yields with prenatal sequencing were: (1) 4% (95% confidence interval, −5.0 to 12; I2=0%) in isolated intrauterine growth restriction with evidence of placental insufficiency, (2) 30% (95% confidence interval, 13–47; I2=1%) in intrauterine growth restriction with additional structural anomalies, (3) 48% (95% confidence interval, 26–70; I2=73%) in isolated short long bones, and (4) 68% (95% confidence interval, 58–77; I2=51%) in short long bones with additional skeletal anomalies. Of the 37 short long bone cases with a diagnosis, 32 had a skeletal dysplasia, with thanatophoric dysplasia and osteogenesis imperfecta being the most common (both 21.6% [n=8/37]). In fetuses with short long bones and additional skeletal features, osteogenesis imperfecta was the most common diagnosis (28% [n=57/204]). Where documented, the inheritance patterns were de novo in 75.4% (n=150) of cases.


Prenatal sequencing adds substantially to incremental yield over chromosomal microarray in fetuses with short long bones or multisystem intrauterine growth restriction. Robust studies are required to assess the utility of fetal sequencing in isolated intrauterine growth restriction with evidence of placental insufficiency, which cannot be recommended on the basis of current evidence.