Efficacy and economics of targeted panel versus whole-exome sequencing in 878 patients with suspected primary immunodeficiency

Published:September 01, 2020DOI:


      Next-generation sequencing has become a first-line tool for the diagnosis of primary immunodeficiency. However, patient access remains limited because of restricted insurance coverage and a lack of guidelines addressing the use of targeted panels versus whole-exome sequencing (WES).


      We sought to compare targeted next-generation sequencing with WES in a global population of patients with primary immunodeficiency.


      This was a longitudinal study of 878 patients with likely primary immunodeficiency sequenced between 2010 and 2020. Most patients (n = 780) were first sequenced using a 264 gene panel. This was followed by WES in selected cases if a candidate gene was not found. A subset of patients (n = 98) were selected for a WES-only pipeline if the history was atypical for genes within the targeted panel.


      Disease-causing variants were identified in 498 of the 878 probands (56%), encompassing 152 distinct monogenic disorders. Sixteen patients had disorders that were novel at the time of sequencing (1.8%). Diagnostic yield in patients sequenced by targeted panel was 56% (433 of 780 patients), with subsequent WES leading to an additional 18 diagnoses (overall diagnostic yield 58%, 451 of 780 patients). The WES-only approach had a diagnostic yield of 45% (45 of 98 patients), reflecting that these cases had less common clinical and laboratory phenotypes. Cost analysis, based on current commercial WES and targeted panel prices, demonstrated savings ranging from $300 to $950 with a WES-only approach, depending on diagnostic yield.


      Advantages of WES over targeted next-generation sequencing include simplified workflow, reduced overall cost, and the potential for identification of novel diseases.

      Key words

      Abbreviations used:

      NGS (Next-generation sequencing), PID (Primary immunodeficiency), WES (Whole-exome sequencing)
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