Hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTRv, v for variant) is a late-onset, autosomal dominant disease caused by progressive extracellular deposition of transthyretin amyloid fibrils, leading to organ damage and death. For other late-onset fatal diseases, as Huntington’s disease, protocols for pre-symptomatic genetic testing (PST) are available since decades. For ATTRv, limited experience has been reported to date, mostly gathered before the availability of approved therapies. We aimed at developing recommendations for a safe and feasible PST protocol in ATTRv in the era of emerging treatments, taking also into account Italian patients’ characteristics and healthcare system rules. After an initial survey on ongoing approaches to PST for ATTRv in Italy, two roundtable meetings were attended by 24 experts from 16 Italian centers involved in the diagnosis and care of this disease. Minimal requirements for PST offer and potential critical issues were highlighted. By November 2019, 457 families affected by ATTRv with 209 molecularly confirmed pre-symptomatic carriers were counted. The median age at PST was 41.3 years of age, regardless of the specific mutation. Half of the Italian centers had a multidisciplinary team, including a neurologist, an internist, a cardiologist, a medical geneticist and a psychologist, although in most cases not all the specialists were available in the same center. A variable number of visits was performed at each site. Experts agreed that PST should be offered only in the context of genetic counselling to at risk individuals aged 18 or older. Advertised commercial options for DNA testing should be avoided. The protocol should consist of several steps, including a preliminary clinical examination, a pre-test information session, an interval time, the genetic test and a post-test session with the disclosure of the test results, in the context of an experienced multidisciplinary team. Recommendations for best timing were also defined. Protocols for PST in the context of ATTRv can be refined to offer at risk individuals the best chance for early diagnosis and timely treatment start, while respecting autonomous decisions and promoting safe psychological adjustment to the genetic result.
- Pre-symptomatic genetic testing
- Hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis