Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

Original Article

Current status of the predictive genetic testing for hereditary neurological diseases in Shinshu University Hospital

Keiko Tanaka, M.HSc.1), Yoshiki Sekijima, M.D., Ph.D.2)4), Kunihiro Yoshida, M.D., Ph.D.3), Asako Mizuuchi, M.HSc2), Hiromi Yamashita2), Mariko Tamai, Ph.D.2), Shu-ichi Ikeda, M.D., Ph.D.4) and Yoshimitsu Fukushima, M.D., Ph.D.2)5)

1)Department of Medical Genetics, Shinshu University School of Medicine
2)Division of Clinical and Molecular Genetics, Shinshu University Hospital
3)Department of Brain Disease Research, Shinshu University School of Medicine
4)Department of Medicine (Neurology & Rheumatology), Shinshu University School of Medicine

The current status of predictive genetic testing for late-onset hereditary neurological diseases in Japan is largely unknown. In this study, we analyzed data from 73 clients who visited the Division of Clinical and Molecular Genetics, Shinshu University Hospital, for the purpose of predictive genetic testing. The clients consisted of individuals with family histories of familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAP; n=30), Huntington's disease (HD; n=16), spinocerebellar degeneration (SCD; n=14), myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1; n=9), familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis type 1 (ALS1; n=3), and Alzheimer's disease (AD; n=1). Forty-nine of the 73 (67.1%) clients were in their twenties or thirties. Twenty-seven of the 73 (37.0%) clients visited a medical institution within 3 months after becoming aware of predictive genetic testing. The most common reason for requesting predictive genetic testing was a need for certainty or to reduce uncertainty and anxiety. The decision-making about marriage and having a child was also a main reason in clients in the twenties and thirties. The numbers of clients who actually underwent predictive genetic testing was 22 of 30 (73.3%) in FAP, 3 of 16 (18.8%) in HD, 6 of 10 (60.0%) in SCD, 7 of 9 (77.8%) in DM1, and 0 of 3 (0%) in ALS1 (responsible gene of the disease was unknown in 4 SCD patients and an AD patient). The percentage of test usage was lower in untreatable diseases such as HD and SCD than that in FAP, suggesting that many clients changed their way of thinking on the significance of testing through multiple genetic counseling sessions. In addition, it was obvious that existence of diseasemodifying therapy promoted usage of predictive genetic testing in FAP. Improvement of genetic counseling system to manage predictive genetic testing is necessary, as consultation concerning predictive genetic testing is the main motivation to visit genetic counseling clinic in many at-risk clients.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (661K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 53: 196|204, 2013)
key words: hereditary neurological diseases, predictive genetic testing, genetic counseling, familial amyloid polyneuropathy, Huntington's disease

(Received: 25-Mar-12)