Background: The 13q deletion syndrome is a rare chromosome disorder associated with wide phenotypic spectrum, which is related to size and location of the deleted region and includes intellectual disability, growth retardation, craniofacial dysmorphisms, congenital malformations, and increased risk of retinoblastoma.
Case presentation: Here, we report on a teenage boy with a mild phenotype characterized by obesity, hyperactivity, dysphagia, dysgraphia, sleep disturbance, and minor dysmorphic features (round face, bushy eyebrows, and stubby hands). Array Comparative Genomic Hybridization on blood identified a mosaic 13q14.13-13q31.1 deletion, with a mosaicism rate around 40%, which was confirmed by quantitative PCR and interphase Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization (iFISH) on both blood genomic DNA and cultured/uncultured blood lymphocytes, respectively. Conversely, karyotype analysis on blood estimated a mosaicism rate of 24% and iFISH on buccal smears revealed a borderline value of 0.4%, suggesting the absence of 13q deletion in this cell line.
Conclusions: The comparison with previous patients carrying similar deletions informed that the proband clinical presentation is the mildest reported to date, thus supporting the burden of mosaicism in modulating the phenotype also in case of large chromosomal rearrangements. Characterization of further cases by in-depth mosaicism rate in tissues with different embryonic origins might contribute in the future to a better definition of genotype-phenotype correlation, including tumor risk.