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  • Author: Paola Izzo x
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Background: We performed counselling for prenatal diagnosis (PD) of haemoglobinopathies in 372 couples. Thirty-four out of 372 (9.1%) did not undergo PD: six due to spontaneous abortion; nine because it was too difficult to make a decision if PD was positive; 18 because counselling excluded the carrier status of one or both parents; and one because parental mutations were mild.

Methods: Eleven out of 338 (3.3%) couples underwent PD because they had a thalassaemic child; 106 (31.4%) were found to be at high risk during pre-conceptional screening; 221 (65.4%) because of familiarity. Of 523 PDs in 486 (92.9%), including six dichorionic twin pregnancies, PD was performed on DNA from chorionic villi (CV), and in 37 from amniocytes (7.1%). In 1/523 cases, PD was not completed because DNA from CV was not sufficient; in two cases single tandem repeat analysis revealed maternal contamination of foetal DNA; in 7/522 (1.3%) cases PD revealed non-paternity. In 435/522 (83.3%) cases, PD was performed using reverse dot-blot and ARMS; 34/522 (6.5%) required sequencing. In 53/522 (10.2%) cases it was necessary to test globin loci for large rearrangements.

Results: One hundred and twenty out of 522 (23.0%) PDs revealed an affected foetus. In all but two cases the couple interrupted pregnancy. In the six twin pregnancies PD revealed a normal and a carrier foetus (two cases), carrier status in both foetuses (two cases) and a carrier and an affected foetus (two cases). In these latter cases the couple planned selective interruption.

Conclusions: Our PD procedure is successful and reliable, and is useful in high-risk areas characterised by molecular heterogeneity.



Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (GEP-NETs) are a heterogeneous group of tumours. An effective diagnosis requires a multimodal approach that combines evaluation of clinical symptoms, hormonelevels, radiological and nuclear imaging, and histological confirmation. Imaging plays a critical role in NETs diagnosis, prognosis and management, so the radiologists are important members of the multidisciplinary team. During diagnostic work-up two critical issues are present: firstly the need to identify tumor presence and secondly to define the primary site and assess regional and distant metastases.


The most appropriate imaging technique depends on the type of neuroendocrine tumour and the availability of specialized imaging techniques and expertise. There is no general consensus on the most efficient imaging pathway, reflecting the challenge in reliably detection of these tumours.