Diagnosis of inherited myopathies can be a challenging and lengthy process due to broad genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity. In this study we applied focused exome sequencing to investigate a cohort of 100 complex adult myopathy cases who remained undiagnosed despite extensive investigation. We evaluated the frequency of genetic diagnoses, clinical and pathological factors most likely to be associated with a positive diagnosis, clinical pitfalls and new phenotypic insights that could help to guide future clinical practice. We identified pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants in 32/100 cases. TTN-related myopathy was the most common diagnosis (4/32 cases) but the majority of positive diagnoses related to a single gene each. Childhood onset of symptoms was more likely to be associated with a positive diagnosis. Atypical and new clinico-pathological phenotypes with diagnostic pitfalls were identified. These include the new emerging group of neuromyopathy genes (HSPB1, BICD2) and atypical biopsy findings: COL6A-related myopathy with mitochondrial features, DOK7 presenting as myopathy with minicores and DES-related myopathy without myofibrillar pathology. Our data demonstrates the diagnostic efficacy of broad NGS screening when combined with detailed clinico-pathological phenotyping in a complex neuromuscular cohort. Atypical clinico-pathological features may delay the diagnostic process if smaller targeted gene panels are used.
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