Combining count- and length-based z-scores leads to improved predictions in non-invasive prenatal testing
Budis, J.a,b,c, Gazdarica, J.b,d, Radvanszky, J.b,e, Szucs, G.f, Kucharik, M.g, Strieskova, L.b,d, Gazdaricova, I.d, Harsanyova, M.b,d, Duris, F.b,c, Minarik, G.g, Sekelska, M.g, Nagy, B.h, Turna, J.c,d,i, Szemes, T.b,d,i
Non-invasive prenatal testing or NIPT is currently among the top researched topic in obstetric care. While the performance of the current state-of-the-art NIPT solutions achieve high sensitivity and specificity, they still struggle with a considerable number of samples that cannot be concluded with certainty. Such uninformative results are often subject to repeated blood sampling and re-analysis, usually after two weeks, and this period may cause a stress to the future mothers as well as increase the overall cost of the test.
We propose a supplementary method to traditional z-scores to reduce the number of such uninformative calls. The method is based on a novel analysis of the length profile of circulating cell free DNA which compares the change in such profiles when random-based and length-based elimination of some fragments is performed. The proposed method is not as accurate as the standard z-score; however, our results suggest that combination of these two independent methods correctly resolves a substantial portion of healthy samples with an uninformative result. Additionally, we discuss how the proposed method can be used to identify maternal aberrations, thus reducing the risk of false positive and false negative calls.
The open-source code of the proposed methods, together with test data, is freely available for non-commercial users at github web page https://github.com/jbudis/lambda.