Outcome of publicly funded nationwide first-tier noninvasive prenatal screening

Kris Van Den Bogaert, Lore Lannoo, Nathalie Brison, Vincent Gatinois, Machteld Baetens, Bettina Blaumeiser, François Boemer, Laura Bourlard, Vincent Bours, Anne De Leener, Julie Désir, Annelies Dheedene, Armelle Duquenne, Nathalie Fieremans, Annelies Fieuw, Jean-Stéphane Gatot, Bernard Grisart, Sandra Janssens, Damien Lederer, Axel MarichalBjörn Menten, Colombine Meunier, Leonor Palmeira, Bruno Pichon, Eva Sammels, Guillaume Smits, Yves Sznajer, Elise Vantroys, Koenraad Devriendt, Joris Robert Vermeesch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: Noninvasive prenatal screening (NIPS) using cell-free DNA has transformed prenatal care. Belgium was the first country to implement and fully reimburse NIPS as a first-tier screening test offered to all pregnant women. A consortium consisting of all Belgian genetic centers report the outcome of two years genome-wide NIPS implementation.

METHODS: The performance for the common trisomies and for secondary findings was evaluated based on 153,575 genome-wide NIP tests. Furthermore, the evolution of the number of invasive tests and the incidence of Down syndrome live births was registered.

RESULTS: Trisomies 21, 18, and 13 were detected in respectively 0.32%, 0.07%, and 0.06% of cases, with overall positive predictive values (PPVs) of 92.4%, 84.6%, and 43.9%. Rare autosomal trisomies and fetal segmental imbalances were detected in respectively 0.23% and 0.07% of cases with PPVs of 4.1% and 47%. The number of invasive obstetric procedures decreased by 52%. The number of trisomy 21 live births dropped to 0.04%.

CONCLUSION: Expanding the scope of NIPS beyond trisomy 21 fetal screening allows the implementation of personalized genomic medicine for the obstetric population. This genome-wide NIPS approach has been embedded successfully in prenatal genetic care in Belgium and might serve as a framework for other countries offering NIPS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1137-1142
Number of pages6
JournalGenetics in Medicine : Official Journal of the American College of Medical Genetics
Issue number6
Early online date9 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


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