BACKGROUND: The clinical spectrum associated with cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) variant p.Arg117His is highly variable, ranging from full-blown cystic fibrosis (CF) in a small number of cases to CFTR-related disorders (CFTR-RDs) or no symptoms at all. Therefore, taking into account phenotype variability is essential for interpretation. External quality assessment (EQA) schemes can help laboratories to objectively assess the quality of genotyping and reporting by the laboratory.
METHODS: We performed a retrospective longitudinal data analysis on laboratory performance regarding the interpretation of p.Arg117His during CF EQA scheme participation. Completeness and accuracy of reporting on two mock clinical cases were each compared over time (case 1: 2005, 2007 and 2012; case 2: 2015 and 2018). These cases concerned subjects compound heterozygous for p.Phe508del and p.Arg117His in cis with 7T, but with different clinical backgrounds (family planning (case 1) versus diagnostic testing for a child (case 2)). Furthermore, we analyzed the influence of previous participations, annual test volume, accreditation status and laboratory setting on overall performance.
RESULTS: Overall performance improved over time, except during the 2007 CF EQA scheme. In addition, previous participations had a beneficial effect on laboratory performance. Accreditation status, annual test volume and laboratory setting did not significantly influence total interpretation scores.
CONCLUSIONS: In general, laboratories performed well on both cases, although reporting on the variable clinical spectrum of p.Arg117His in cis with 7T and on the disease liability of individual CFTR variants can still improve. Moreover, this study underlined the educational role of CF EQA schemes.
Keywords: CFTR-related disorders Cystic fibrosis External quality assessment p.Arg117His