In order to identify genetic causes of VACTERL association (V vertebral defects, A anorectal malformations, C cardiac defects, T tracheoesofageal fistula, E esophageal atresia, R renal anomalies, L limb deformities), we have collected DNA samples from 20 patients diagnosed with VACTERL or with a VACTERL-like phenotype as well as samples from 19 aborted fetal cases with VACTERL. To investigate the importance of gene dose alterations in the genetic etiology of VACTERL association we have performed a systematic analysis of this cohort using a 180K array comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH) platform. In addition, to further clarify the significance of PCSK5, HOXD13 and CHD7 genes in the VACTERL phenotype, mutation screening has been performed. We identified pathogenic gene dose imbalances in two fetal cases; a hemizygous deletion of the FANCB gene and a (9;18)(p24;q12) unbalanced translocation. In addition, one pathogenic mutation in CHD7 was detected, while no apparent disease-causing mutations were found in HOXD13 or PCSK5. Our study shows that although large gene dose alterations do not seem to be a common cause in VACTERL association, array-CGH is still important in clinical diagnostics to identify disease cause in individual cases.
2014. Vol. 9, no 1, e85313- p.