Next week, I travel to Phoenix to give a poster presentation at the 2013 Annual Meeting for the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG). I receive a daily invitations in my inbox to visit the booth for one of the manufacturers for the new Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT). But what does each test test for, and how much do they cost?
Fortunately, a helpful table was published recently. It compares the four currently-available NIPT tests. That table is reproduced above (click to enlarge) and its accompanying article can be accessed at this link. The table is well-timed.
Earlier this year, I presented at the South Atlantic Association of Obstetricians & Gynecologists. After my presentation, an attendee asked for this precise comparison, because he was confused about what test tested for what conditions. As you can see from reviewing the table, certain tests test for more genetic conditions than others, e.g. the tests from Sequenom and Verinata cover more conditions than Natera’s Panorama test (the newest test to hit the market) or Ariosa’s Harmony test. And, not surprisingly, the tests that test for more conditions also cost more, though Ariosa would be considered the clear bargain amongst the four tests based on cost alone.
This chart is helpful, generally, to know what tests cover what conditions and what they cost. It is also helpful specifically for those mothers who may have a family history of a sex chromosome condition, in which case choosing MaterniT21 Plus or Verifi would be advisable versus Panorama or Harmony.
At the same time, these new tests will also invite questions at the same time that they promise to provide answers:
- Well, based on the NIPT result, I know it is very unlikely my child has these tested-for chromosome conditions, but should I still have an amnio and micro-array testing to be rule out any other chromosomal condition?
- It seems certain that my child will have Down syndrome, but to know for sure a CVS is needed–do I want to risk a miscarriage to have that certainty?
- The MaterniT21/Panorama/Verifi/Harmony test came back positive–what does that mean and where can I find more information about the condition?
While these questions will persist, the table at least helps explain what each test does and costs. And that is helpful.
Update: Since NIPT launched two years ago, much as been learned about what it is testing for, the level of its accuracy, with the laboratories emphasizing it remains a screening test requiring diagnostic testing to confirm NIPT results. These lessons learned since NIPT’s launch are collected in this post here.
What questions do you have about the new NIPT tests?