Challenges in clinical diagnosis of Williams-Beuren syndrome in sub-Saharan Africans: Case reports from Cameroon

Cedrik Tekendo-Ngongang, Sophie Dahoun, Seraphin Nguefack, Stefania Gimelli, Frédérique Sloan-Béna, Ambroise Wonkam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Williams-Beuren syndrome (WBS) is a rare neurodevelopmental condition caused by a recurrent chromosomal microdeletion involving about 28 contiguous genes at 7q11.23. Most patients display a specific congenital heart defect, characteristic facial features, a particular behavior, and intellectual disability. Cases from sub-Saharan Africa have been seldom reported. The present study describes 3 Cameroonian patients affected by WBS, aged 19 months, 13 and 14 years, in whom the diagnosis was confirmed by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). The first patient presented with a congenital heart defect, the second and third with learning difficulties as well as developmental and behavioral issues. In the latter 2 cases, the facial phenotypes were similar to those of the unaffected population with the same ethnic background. However, the cardiovascular anomalies and friendly behavioral attitudes led to suspicion of WBS. FISH revealed the deletion of the WBS critical region in the first patient, and array-CGH detected a heterozygous ∼1.4-Mb deletion in the 7q11.23 region in the second and third patient. This preliminary report suggests that for sub-Saharan Africans clinical suspicion of WBS could be mostly based on behavioral phenotype and structural heart defects, and less on the classical facial dysmorphic signs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-292
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Syndromology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 25 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cameroon
  • Clinical diagnosis
  • Sub-Saharan Africans
  • Williams-Beuren syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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