Clinical Profile of Genetically Confirmed Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Among Filipino Children Less Than 18 Years Old


Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the most common inherited lethal disease in children. Confirmatory diagnosis is based on molecular genetic testing of survival motor neuron (SMN) genes. We aimed to describe the phenotypic presentation of Filipino infants and children with SMA based on the copy number analysis of SMN genes. Medical records of 17 Filipino children were reviewed from January 2017 to December 2019. De-identified clinical data fulfilled the diagnostic criteria defined by the International SMA Consortium.

Among Filipino children, the predominant SMA type by copy number was type I having two copies of SMN2 gene. The clinical severity based on symptom onset and highest functional motor capacity attained correlated with SMN2 copy number congruent with existing data. A significant time lag between symptom onset to confirmation of genetic diagnosis was noted. Nine out of the 17 (52%) children did not have a family history of the disease, raising the possibility of mutation carriers in these families since the incidence of de novo mutations in literature is about 2%.

These data offered the first epidemiological pattern of genetically confirmed SMA among Filipino children; provided additional information for genetic counselling; and an avenue to consider pre-symptomatic newborn screening and carrier testing that would change proactive measures and opportunities for therapy. These measures unavoidably will decrease the incidence and prevalence of disease in the future.

Key words: Clinical profile, spinal muscular atrophy, genetically-confirmed, Filipino children, survival motor neuron

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