Department of Neurology, University of Thessaly, University Hospital of Larissa, Larissa, Greece.
A pathologic expansion of a noncoding GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat of the C9orf72 gene has been strongly associated with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) cases predominantly in Caucasian populations. In the last decade, scientific interest had been drawn to this gene and many studies conducted have shown a possible correlation with other neurodegenerative diseases as well. We performed an extensive literature search for C9orf72 mutation and its frequency in various neurological and psychiatric diseases. In addition, we performed a meta-analysis of the data related to ALS and familial ALS. An online cloud-based database and an interactive map were developed. The overall mutation frequency of C9orf72 is 20% for familial FTD, 16% for familial ALS and around 6%-8% for sporadic ALS and FTD. The updated meta-analysis that we performed showed that the pooled frequency of C9orf72 repeat expansion in patients with familial ALS was 23% (CI: 18%-28%) and in patients with sporadic ALS 3% (CI: 3%-4%). The subgroup analysis regarding the origin of the population revealed significant differences between Caucasian and Asian patients. Our analysis supports the direct causal relation of the C9orf72 expansion in ALS and FTD. On the contrary, the role of C9orf72 in other neurodegenerative disorders remains controversial. The system that we developed-the online database and the interactive map-is hopefully a stepping stone for an ever-growing platform that will aid scientists from all over the world in contributing to the meta-analysis of C9orf72-related publications.