Genet Med. 2023 Jul 30:100947. doi: 10.1016/j.gim.2023.100947. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Variants of uncertain significance (VUS) are a common result of diagnostic genetic testing and can be difficult to manage with potential misinterpretation and downstream costs, including time investment by clinicians. We investigated the rate of VUS reported on diagnostic testing via multi-gene panels (MGPs) and exome and genome sequencing (ES/GS) to measure the magnitude of uncertain results and explore ways to reduce their potentially detrimental impact.
METHODS: Rates of inconclusive results due to VUS were collected from over 1.5 million sequencing test results from 19 clinical laboratories in North America from 2020 – 2021.
RESULTS: We found a lower rate of inconclusive test results due to VUSs from ES/GS (22.5%) compared to MGPs (32.6%; p<0.0001). For MGPs, the rate of inconclusive results correlated with panel size. The use of trios reduced inconclusive rates (18.9% vs 27.6%; p<0.001) whereas the use of GS compared to ES had no impact (22.2% vs 22.6%; p=ns).
CONCLUSION: The high rate of VUS observed in diagnostic MGP testing warrants examining current variant reporting practices. We propose several approaches to reduce reported VUS rates, while directing clinician resources towards important VUS follow-up.