• Vol. 37 No. 7, 594–597
  • 15 July 2008

Holoprosencephaly: An Antenally-diagnosed Case Series and Subject Review



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Introduction: Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is an uncommon congenital failure of forebrain development. Although the aetiology is heterogeneous, chromosomal abnormalities or a monogenic defect are the major causes, accounting for about 40% to 50% of HPE cases. At least 7 genes have been positively implicated, including SHH, ZIC2, SIX3, TGIF, PTCH1, GLI2, and TDGF1.

Clinical Picture: Twelve antenatally- and 1 postnatally-diagnosed cases are presented in this study. These comprised 6 amniotic fluid, 3 chorionic villus, 2 fetal blood, 1 peripheral blood, and 1 product of conception.

Outcome: The total chromosome abnormality rate was 92.3%, comprising predominantly trisomy 13 (66.7%). There was 1 case of trisomy 18, and 3 cases of structural abnormalities, including del13q, del18p, and add4q.

Conclusion: Despite the poor outcome of an antenatally-diagnosed HPE and the likely decision by parents to opt for a termination of pregnancy, karyotyping and/or genetic studies should be performed to determine if a specific familial genetic or chromosomal abnormality is the cause. At the very least, a detailed chromosome analysis should be carried out on the affected individual. If the result of high-resolution karyotyping is normal, Fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) and/or syndrome-specific testing or isolated holoprosencephaly genetic testing may be performed. This information can be useful in making a prognosis and predicting the risk of recurrence.

Holoproscencephaly (HPE) is an uncommon congenital developmental defect of the forebrain structures to divide into separate hemispheres and ventricles during embryogenesis. The prevalence rate of HPE is estimated to be between 1 in 11,000 to 1 in 20,000 live births, and 1 in 250 during early embryogenesis.

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