Cell-free fetal DNA screening for Down syndrome has gained rapid acceptance over the past few years with increasing market penetration. Three main laboratory methodologies are currently used: a massive parallel shotgun sequencing (MPSS), a targeted massive parallel sequencing (t-MPS) and a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) based approach. Although each of these technologies has its own advantages and disadvantages, the performance of all was shown to be comparable and superior to that of traditional first-trimester screening for the detection of trisomy 21 in a routine prenatal population. Differences in performance were predominantly shown for chromosomal anomalies other than trisomy 21. Understanding the limitations and benefits of each technology is essential for proper counseling to patients. These technologies, as well as few investigational technologies described in this review, carry a great potential beyond screening for the common aneuploidies.
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