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ISSN: 1643-8876
Menopause Review/Przegląd Menopauzalny
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vol. 23
Review paper

Diagnostic and prognostic role of soft ultrasound markers in prenatal detection and assessment of foetal abnormalities

Behnaz Moradi
Ashkan Bahrami
1, 2
Seyedeh Maryam Vafaei
1, 3
Sanaz Sharifpour
Fatemeh Shariatinia
Ali Rezvanimehr
1, 6
Ali Rashidi-Nezhad
7, 8
Mobina Fathi
1, 9
Shirin Yaghoobpoor
1, 9
Hamed Ghorani
1, 9

  1. Advanced Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology Research Center (ADIR), Tehran University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran
  2. Faculty of Medicine, Kashan University of Medical Science, Kashan, Iran
  3. School of medicine, Islamic Azad University, Tehran Medical Branch, Tehran, Iran
  4. MD, Islamic Azad University Tehran Medical Branch, Tehran, Iran
  5. Maternal-fetal medicine Research Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  6. Faculty of Medicine, Islamic Azad University, Tehran Medical Sciences Branch, Tehran, Iran
  7. Maternal, Fetal and Neonatal Research Center, Family Health Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  8. Ronash Medical Laboratory, Tehran, Iran
  9. Student Research Committee, Faculty of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Menopause Rev 2024; 23(2): 94-108
Online publish date: 2024/07/04
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Various soft markers can be detected in the ultrasonography of foetuses, which can be related to chromosomal abnormalities and increases the risk of abnormalities, or they can be considered as normal variations that can disappear due to the pregnancy progress. There are different tools to detect chromosomal abnormalities like conventional karyotyping, chromosomal microarray analysis (CMA), single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array, non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT), and non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS). Therefore, in the present study, we aim to assess the accuracy of ultrasonic soft markers in the diagnosis of chromosomal abnormalities such as chromosomal structural abnormalities, aneuploidy, and triploidy, especially Trisomy 21 and Trisomy 18. A systemic literature search was performed using PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, and Web of Science. We gathered all articles published before August 2023. We selected English studies such as retrospective and cross-sectional ones that assessed the relationship between ultrasonic soft markers and foetal chromosomal abnormalities. A total of 10 articles with 18,580 cases were included in our systematic review article that assessed the foetal abnormalities and aneuploidies by using conventional karyotyping, SNP array, CMA, and NIPT (or NIPS). Trisomy 21, Trisomy 18, and chromosomal structural abnormalities were the most common abnormalities related to ultrasonic soft markers by karyotyping; however, Trisomy 13, 47, XXY, 45, X, and mosaic chromosomal abnormalities were other abnormalities detected. Results by CMA showed Trisomy 21 and Trisomy 18 as the most common abnormalities in the foetuses also with ultrasonic soft markers, and other abnormalities were pathogenic copy-number variations, Turner (XO), polyploidy, 22q11.2deletion, and Trisomy13, respectively. It was discovered that there is a greater possibility of having pathogenic copy number variations (CNVs) in the groups with multiple ultrasonic soft markers, while foetuses with ultrasonic soft markers have a decreased prevalence of CMA abnormality compared to those who had significant abnormalities or abnormal nuchal translucency. Trisomy 21 was the only abnormality found by NIPT in the groups with 1 and 2 soft markers, while groups with multiple soft markers were all normal. By using SNP array, it was identified that the rate of chromosomal abnormalities such as aneuploidy and triploidy, LOH, and CNVs was lower in the group with a single ultrasonic soft marker compared to the group with structural abnormalities in multiple systems. Trisomy 21, Trisomy 18, and chromosomal structural abnormalities were the most common chromosomal abnormalities that ultrasound soft markers could diagnose. Therefore, it is recommended to employ soft markers besides CMA, SNP array, and NIPS (or NIPT) for greater accuracy in detecting foetus abnormalities.

soft marker, ultrasound, karyotype, CMA, SNP array, NIPS

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