Publications by authors named "Susanne E Stalman"

8 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Novel Clinical Criteria Allow Detection of Short Stature Homeobox-Containing Gene Haploinsufficiency Caused by Either Gene or Enhancer Region Defects.

Horm Res Paediatr 2019 28;92(6):372-381. Epub 2020 Apr 28.

Department of Pediatrics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Introduction: Short stature homeobox-containing gene (SHOX) haploinsufficiency is associated with short stature, Madelung deformity and mesomelia. Current clinical screening tools are based on patients with intragenic variants or deletions. However, recent discoveries showed that deletions of the enhancer elements are quite common. The majority of these patients show less body disproportion and respond better to recombinant human growth hormone treatment. We redefined clinical criteria for genetic analysis to facilitate detection of the full spectrum of SHOX haploinsufficiency.

Methods: We analyzed 51 children with SHOX variants or deletions and 25 children with a deletion in its enhancer region. Data were compared to 277 children referred for suspicion of growth failure without endocrine or genetic pathology.

Results: Only half of the patients with an enhancer region deletion fulfilled any of the current screening criteria. We propose new clinical criteria based on sitting height to height ratio >1 SDS or arm span ≥3 cm below height, with a sensitivity of 99%. When these criteria are combined with obligatory short stature, the sensitivity to detect SHOX haploinsufficiency is 68.1%, the specificity 80.6%, and the number needed to screen 21 patients.

Conclusion: Novel clinical criteria for screening for SHOX haploinsufficiency allow the detection of patients within the full genetic spectrum, that is, intragenic variants and enhancer region deletions.
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July 2020

Genetic Analyses in Small-for-Gestational-Age Newborns.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2018 03;103(3):917-925

Department of Pediatrics, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Context: Small for gestational age (SGA) can be the result of fetal growth restriction, which is associated with perinatal morbidity and mortality. Mechanisms that control prenatal growth are poorly understood.

Objective: The aim of the current study was to gain more insight into prenatal growth failure and determine an effective diagnostic approach in SGA newborns. We hypothesized that one or more copy number variations (CNVs) and disturbed methylation and sequence variants may be present in genes associated with fetal growth.

Design: A prospective cohort study of subjects with a low birth weight for gestational age.

Setting: The study was conducted at an academic pediatric research institute.

Patients: A total of 21 SGA newborns with a mean birth weight below the first centile and a control cohort of 24 appropriate-for-gestational-age newborns were studied.

Interventions: Array comparative genomic hybridization, genome-wide methylation studies, and exome sequencing were performed.

Main Outcome Measures: The numbers of CNVs, methylation disturbances, and sequence variants.

Results: The genetic analyses demonstrated three CNVs, one systematically disturbed methylation pattern, and one sequence variant explaining SGA. Additional methylation disturbances and sequence variants were present in 20 patients. In 19 patients, multiple abnormalities were found.

Conclusion: Our results confirm the influence of a large number of mechanisms explaining dysregulation of fetal growth. We concluded that CNVs, methylation disturbances, and sequence variants all contribute to prenatal growth failure. These genetic workups can be an effective diagnostic approach in SGA newborns.
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March 2018

A new biological and clinical resource for research into pregnancy complications: The Baby Bio Bank.

Placenta 2016 10 24;46:31-37. Epub 2016 Aug 24.

UCL Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, United Kingdom.

About 20% of pregnancies are affected by some form of complication. Research has shown that anomalies in implantation, development, and growth of the fetus; ineffective nutrient exchange between mother and fetus due to placental dysfunction; and maternal problems such as hypertension or infection during pregnancy can all lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, the molecular aetiology of such events remains poorly understood. Fetal growth restriction (FGR), recurrent miscarriage (RM), preterm birth (PTB), and pre-eclampsia (PE) are the most common pregnancy complications encountered in the UK and these outcomes can result in an array of morbidities in both mother and baby, and in the most severe cases in mortality. We need to know more about normal pregnancy and where the important triggers are for failure. This prompted us to collect a large set of biological samples with matching clinical data from over 2500 normal and abnormal pregnancies, for use in research into these conditions. This paper outlines the nature of these sample sets and their availability to academia and industry, with the intention that their widespread use in research will make significant contributions to the improvement of maternal and fetal health worldwide (
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October 2016

Growth failure in adolescents: etiology, the role of pubertal timing and most useful criteria for diagnostic workup.

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab 2016 Apr;29(4):465-73

Background: The aim of the study was to evaluate the etiology, the role of pubertal timing and most useful criteria for diagnostic workup in adolescents with growth failure.

Methods: Adolescents (n=182) aged 10.0-18.0 years underwent a standardized diagnostic protocol. Constitutional delay of growth and puberty (CDGP) was defined as late pubertal onset or a Tanner stage less than -2 SDS. Dutch and Finnish criteria for growth monitoring were retrospectively assessed.

Results: In 13 children (7.1%) a specific diagnosis could be established. CDGP was diagnosed in 10% of patients aged ≥13 (girls) or ≥14 years (boys). Sensitivity to detect pathologic causes was 85% and 62% for, respectively Dutch and Finnish criteria for growth monitoring as used in younger children, but specificity was low (55%-59%).

Conclusions: In adolescents, pathological causes for growth failure and pubertal delay are common, and we recommend a combination of height SDS, distance to THSDS and growth deflection for deciding on further diagnostic testing.
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April 2016

Diagnostic Work-up and Follow-up in Children with Tall Stature: A Simplified Algorithm for Clinical Practice.

J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol 2015 Dec;7(4):260-7

Tergooi Hospitals, Department of Pediatrics, Blaricum, The Netherlands Phone: +44 771 995 55 93 E-mail:

Objective: No evidence-based guideline has been published about optimal referral criteria and diagnostic work-up for tall stature in children. The aim of our study was to describe auxological and clinical characteristics of a cohort of children referred for tall stature, to identify potential candidates for adult height reduction, and to use these observations for developing a simple algorithm for diagnostic work-up and follow-up in clinical practice.

Methods: Data regarding family and medical history, auxological measurements, bone age development, physical examination, additional diagnostic work-up, and final diagnosis were collected from all children referred for tall stature, irrespective of their actual height standard deviation score (HSDS). Predicted adult height (PAH) was calculated in children above 10 years. Characteristics of patients with an indication for adult height reduction were determined.

Results: Hundred thirty-two children (43 boys) with a mean ± SD age of 10.9±3.2 (range 0.5-16.9) years were included in the study. Fifty percent of the referred children had an HSDS ≤2.0 (n=66). Two pathological cases (1.5%) were found (HSDS 2.3 and 0.9). Tall children without pathology were diagnosed as idiopathic tall, further classified as familial tall stature (80%), constitutional advancement of growth (5%), or unexplained non-familial tall stature (15%). Of the 74 children in whom PAH was calculated, epiphysiodesis was considered in six (8%) and performed in four (5%) patients.

Conclusion: The incidence of pathology was very low in children referred for tall stature, and few children were potential candidates for adult height reduction. We propose a simple diagnostic algorithm for clinical practice.
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December 2015

Application of the Dutch, Finnish and British Screening Guidelines in a Cohort of Children with Growth Failure.

Horm Res Paediatr 2015 9;84(6):376-82. Epub 2015 Oct 9.

Department of Pediatrics, Tergooi Hospitals, Blaricum, The Netherlands.

Aims: To evaluate three guidelines for selecting short children for diagnostic workup in a general pediatric clinic.

Methods: All patients (n = 131) aged 3.00-9.99 years who were referred for growth failure to a general pediatric clinic were evaluated for their medical history and growth and examined. All of them underwent the same standardized diagnostic workup. Retrospectively, the criteria for the diagnostic workup from three guidelines (proposed in the Netherlands, Finland and the UK) were applied, and their sensitivity was assessed. A Dutch reference sample (n = 958) was used for calculating population specificity.

Results: In 23 patients (17.6%), a pathological cause of their growth failure was found. The sensitivity of the original Dutch, Finnish and British guidelines was 73.9, 78.3 and 56.5% and their specificity 98.5, 83.7 and 95.8%, respectively. When adding recent growth deflection to the Dutch guideline, sensitivity increased to 87%, but specificity decreased markedly (to 87%).

Conclusion: The proposed cutoff values for height standard deviation score and distance to target height/mid-parental height, as used in the Netherlands and Finland, are effective for population growth monitoring, and superior to the monitoring algorithm in the UK. Growth deflection irrespective of height is an important sign of acquired growth disorders, but its specificity is too low for population screening.
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October 2016

Positive effect of growth hormone treatment in maternal uniparental disomy chromosome 14.

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2015 Nov 28;83(5):671-6. Epub 2015 Jul 28.

Department of Pediatric Endocrinology, VU Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Objective: Maternal uniparental disomy of chromosome 14 (matUPD(14)) resembles Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). As positive effects of growth hormone (GH) are observed in individuals with PWS, treatment with GH may be useful in individuals with matUPD(14) as well. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of GH treatment on growth and body composition in children with matUPD(14).

Design: This is a prospective observational study of GH treatment in two girls with matUPD(14) during 2 years, and spontaneous growth in another matUPD(14) girl of similar age.

Patients: Three girls (patient A, B and C, aged 8·9, 11·4 and 12·7 years, respectively) with matUPD(14) were included in this study.

Measurements: Patients A and B were treated with GH during 2 years. Patient C was not treated with GH, as she was diagnosed at an age at which she attained near-final height. Main outcome measures included height, weight, body proportions, IGF-1, bone age, and DXA scan for body composition.

Results: In both treated girls, a considerable increase in height (from -2·3SD and -1·2SD to -1·2SD and -0·6SD, respectively) and IGF-1 levels (from +0·1SD and -1·4SD to +1·3SD and +0·9SD, respectively) and, in patient A, a decrease in weight (+1·2 SD to -0·7SD), and improved body composition (fat percentage from 51·5% to 45·4%) were found. Both experienced improved muscle strength.

Conclusions: GH treatment in matUPD(14) cases can show beneficial effects on growth and body composition if started in time. Larger, international studies to determine detailed effectivity and side effects are suggested.
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November 2015

[Maternal uniparental disomy 14; differential diagnosis with Prader-Willi syndrome].

Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 2015 ;159:A8240

VUmc, afd. Klinische genetica, Amsterdam.

Background: Maternal uniparental disomy 14 is a rare genetic disorder in which both chromosomes 14 are maternally inherited. The disorder is characterised by neonatal hypotonia and feeding difficulties, intrauterine or later growth retardation, truncal obesity and precocious puberty. During the neonatal period its clinical phenotype shows great similarities with that of Prader-Willi syndrome.

Case Description: We describe two patients with dysmaturity, neonatal hypotonia and feeding difficulties who initially showed clinical signs of Prader-Willi syndrome. However, molecular testing for this disorder was normal. Some years later, additional molecular testing confirmed the diagnosis of maternal uniparental disomy 14.

Conclusion: Maternal uniparental disomy 14 shows many phenotypic similarities with Prader-Willi syndrome. In a hypotonic neonate, molecular testing for maternal uniparental disomy 14 should therefore be considered if Prader-Willi syndrome has been excluded.
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December 2015