Interfering effect of maternal cell contamination on invasive prenatal molecular genetic testing

Katalin Koczok, Éva Gombos, László Madar, Olga Török, István Balogh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: Fetal samples obtained by invasive techniques are prone to maternal cell contamination (MCC), which may lead to false genotyping results. Our aim was to determine 3 molecular genetic tests' sensitivity to MCC. Method: By mixing experiments, 1%, 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, and 40% MCC was simulated, and significant MCC levels were determined for Sanger DNA sequencing, multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA), and pyrosequencing, a next-generation sequencing method. Results: For Sanger sequencing, the limit of sensitivity to MCC was 5% to 30%. For MLPA, a higher proportion of MCC (≥40%) was shown to lead to diagnostic uncertainty. In contrast, pyrosequencing proved to be very sensitive to MCC, detecting a proportion as low as 1%. Conclusion: In the case of Sanger sequencing, sensitivity to MCC was variable, while for MLPA, only high levels of MCC proved to be significant. Although the next-generation sequencing method was sensitive to low-level MCC, if MCC level is determined in parallel, accurate quantification of allelic ratios can help to interpret the diagnostic results. Knowledge of significant MCC levels allows correct prenatal diagnosis even if samples are not purely of fetal origin and repeated sampling can be avoided in many of the cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-719
Number of pages7
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Genetics(clinical)

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