Publications by authors named "Tami Johnston"

4 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Harmonizing the Collection of Clinical Data on Genetic Testing Requisition Forms to Enhance Variant Interpretation in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): A Study from the ClinGen Cardiomyopathy Variant Curation Expert Panel.

J Mol Diagn 2021 May 22;23(5):589-598. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

Invitae Corp., San Francisco, California; Departments of Medical and Molecular Genetics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Diagnostic laboratories gather phenotypic data through requisition forms, but there is no consensus as to which data are essential for variant interpretation. The ClinGen Cardiomyopathy Variant Curation Expert Panel defined a phenotypic data set for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) variant interpretation, with the goal of standardizing requisition forms. Phenotypic data elements listed on requisition forms from nine leading cardiomyopathy testing laboratories were compiled to assess divergence in data collection. A pilot of 50 HCM cases was implemented to determine the feasibility of harmonizing data collection. Laboratory directors were surveyed to gauge potential for adoption of a minimal data set. Wide divergence was observed in the phenotypic data fields in requisition forms. The 50-case pilot showed that although demographics and assertion of a clinical diagnosis of HCM had 86% to 98% completion, specific phenotypic features, such as degree of left ventricular hypertrophy, ejection fraction, and suspected syndromic disease, were completed only 24% to 44% of the time. Nine data elements were deemed essential for variant classification by the expert panel. Participating laboratories unanimously expressed a willingness to adopt these data elements in their requisition forms. This study demonstrates the value of comparing and sharing best practices through an expert group, such as the ClinGen Program, to enhance variant interpretation, providing a foundation for leveraging cumulative case-level data in public databases and ultimately improving patient care.
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May 2021

Clinical validity assessment of genes for inclusion in multi-gene panel testing: A systematic approach.

Mol Genet Genomic Med 2019 05 21;7(5):e630. Epub 2019 Mar 21.

Ambry Genetics, Aliso Viejo, California.

Background: Advances in sequencing technology have led to expanded use of multi-gene panel tests (MGPTs) for clinical diagnostics. Well-designed MGPTs must balance increased detection of clinically significant findings while mitigating the increase in variants of uncertain significance (VUS). To maximize clinical utililty, design of such panels should include comprehensive gene vetting using a standardized clinical validity (CV) scoring system.

Methods: To assess the impact of CV-based gene vetting on MGPT results, data from MGPTs for cardiovascular indications were retrospectively analyzed. Using our CV scoring system, genes were categorized as having definitive, strong, moderate, or limited evidence. The rates of reported pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants and VUS were then determined for each CV category.

Results: Of 106 total genes, 42% had definitive, 17% had strong, 29% had moderate, and 12% had limited CV. The detection rate of variants classified as pathogenic or likely pathogenic was higher for genes with greater CV, while the VUS rate showed an inverse relationship with CV score. No pathogenic or likely pathogenic findings were observed in genes with a limited CV.

Conclusion: These results demonstrate the importance of a standardized, evidence-based vetting process to establish CV for genes on MGPTs. Using our proposed system may help to increase the detection rate while mitigating higher VUS rates.
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May 2019

MYLK pathogenic variants aortic disease presentation, pregnancy risk, and characterization of pathogenic missense variants.

Genet Med 2019 01 20;21(1):144-151. Epub 2018 Jun 20.

Department of Internal Medicine, McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA.

Purpose: Heritable thoracic aortic disease can result from null variants in MYLK, which encodes myosin light-chain kinase (MLCK). Data on which MYLK missense variants are pathogenic and information to guide aortic disease management are limited.

Methods: Clinical data from 60 cases with MYLK pathogenic variants were analyzed (five null and two missense variants), and the effect of missense variants on kinase activity was assessed.

Results: Twenty-three individuals (39%) experienced an aortic event (defined as aneurysm repair or dissection); the majority of these events (87%) were aortic dissections. Aortic diameters were minimally enlarged at the time of dissection in many cases. Time-to-aortic-event curves showed that missense pathogenic variant (PV) carriers have earlier-onset aortic events than null PV carriers. An MYLK missense variant segregated with aortic disease over five generations but decreases MYLK kinase acitivity marginally. Functional Assays fail to identify all pathogenic variants in MYLK.

Conclusion: These data further define the aortic phenotype associated with MYLK pathogenic variants. Given minimal aortic enlargement before dissection, an alternative approach to guide the timing of aortic repair is proposed based on the probability of a dissection at a given age.
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January 2019

Mutations in RASA1 and GDF2 identified in patients with clinical features of hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia.

Hum Genome Var 2015 5;2:15040. Epub 2015 Nov 5.

Department of Research and Development, Ambry Genetics , Aliso Viejo, CA, USA.

Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is an autosomal dominant vascular disorder caused by mutations in ENG, ACVRL1 and SMAD4, which function in regulating the transforming growth factor beta and bone morphogenetic protein signaling pathways. Symptoms of HHT can be present in individuals who test negative for mutations in these three genes indicating other genes may be involved. In this study, we tested for mutations in two genes, RASA1 and GDF2, which were recently reported to be involved in vascular disorders. To determine whether RASA1 and GDF2 have phenotypic overlap with HHT and should be included in diagnostic testing, we developed a next-generation sequencing assay to detect mutations in 93 unrelated individuals who previously tested negative for mutations in ENG, ACVRL1 and SMAD4, but were clinically suspected to have HHT. Pathogenic mutations in RASA1 were identified in two samples (2.15%) and a variant of unknown significance in GDF2 was detected in one sample. All three individuals experienced epistaxis with dermal lesions described in medical records as telangiectases. These results indicate that the inclusion of RASA1 and GDF2 screening in individuals suspected to have HHT will increase the detection rate and aid clinicians in making an accurate diagnosis.
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April 2016