A comprehensive testing algorithm for the diagnosis of Fabry disease in males and females.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: Successful diagnosis of Fabry disease is often delayed or missed in patients, especially females, due to clinical heterogeneity and a lack of disease awareness. We present our experience testing for Fabry disease in high risk populations and discuss the relative sensitivities of α-galactosidase A (α-Gal A) enzyme activity in blood, plasma lyso-globotriaosylceramide (lyso-Gb3) biomarker, and GLA gene sequencing as diagnostic tests for Fabry disease in both males and females. METHODS: Patients with a clinical suspicion of Fabry disease were evaluated with enzyme analysis, biomarker analysis, and GLA sequencing. All three assays were performed from a single tube of EDTA blood. α-Gal A activity was determined in dried blood spots using a fluorometric assay, plasma lyso-Gb3 by UPLC-MS/MS, and GLA analysis by Sanger sequencing. RESULTS: Peripheral blood samples were received from 94 males and 200 females, of which 29% of males and 22% of females had a positive family history of Fabry disease. A likely pathogenic or pathogenic variant was identified in 87 (30%) patients (50 males, 37 females), confirming a diagnosis of Fabry disease. Of the remaining patients, 178 (61%) were determined to be unaffected based on normal enzyme activity (males) or normal lyso-Gb3 and negative sequencing results (females). A VUS was identified in 29 (10%) patients. The positive and negative predictive value of plasma lyso-Gb3 was 100% and 97% in males and 100% and 99% in females, respectively. This compares with 84% and 100% in males, and 58% and 50% in females for α-Gal A activity testing, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Plasma lyso-Gb3 has high sensitivity and specificity for Fabry disease in males and females, and provides supportive diagnostic information when gene sequencing results are negative or inconclusive. α-Gal A activity in dried blood spots (DBS) has high sensitivity, but lower specificity for Fabry disease in males, as not all males with low α-Gal A activities were confirmed to have Fabry disease. Therefore, reflexing to gene sequencing and plasma lyso-Gb3 is useful for disease confirmation in males. For females, we found that first tier testing consisting of GLA sequencing and plasma lyso-Gb3 analysis provided the greatest sensitivity and specificity. Enzyme testing has lower sensitivity in females and is therefore less useful as a first-tier test. Enzyme analysis in females may still be helpful as a second-tier test in cases where molecular testing and plasma lyso-Gb3 analysis are uninformative and in vitro enzyme activity is low. SUMMARY: Sex-specific testing algorithms that prioritize tests with high specificity and sensitivity offer an effective means of identifying individuals with Fabry disease.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Stiles, AR; Zhang, H; Dai, J; McCaw, P; Beasley, J; Rehder, C; Koeberl, DD; McDonald, M; Bali, DS; Young, SP

Published Date

  • July 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 130 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 209 - 214

PubMed ID

  • 32418857

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1096-7206

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ymgme.2020.04.006


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States