Screening with whole-body magnetic resonance imaging in pediatric subjects with Li–Fraumeni syndrome: A single institution pilot study

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Li–Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) is an autosomal dominant hereditary cancer syndrome associated with germline mutations in the TP53 gene and a high risk of childhood-onset malignancies. Cancer surveillance is challenging in pediatric mutation carriers given the anatomic spectrum of malignancies and young age of onset. Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (WB-MRI) may provide an acceptable method for early cancer detection.


We conducted a prospective feasibility pilot study of pediatric subjects (age < 18 years) with LFS to determine return rates for annual WB-MRI scan. Secondary objectives included characterization of incident cancers (and how they were detected).


Forty-five WB-MRI scans in 20 subjects were performed over 5 years; two patients enrolled without subsequently undergoing scans. Eighty-nine percent of participants scanned (95% confidence interval: 67–99%) returned for second examinations. Fifty-five percent of participants required general anesthesia, which was well tolerated in all cases. Six patients required dedicated follow-up imaging. One participant required biopsy of a detected brain lesion; pathology demonstrated reactive gliosis. Another participant, with prior choroid plexus carcinoma, had a new brain lesion detected on clinical follow-up MRI not seen on WB-MRI 6 months prior. All other participants remain well (median: 3 years, range: 0.08–4 years).


WB-MRI in pediatric subjects is a well-tolerated approach to cancer surveillance despite the need for general anesthesia in some patients. A large multicenter trial would determine true test characteristics and efficacy of this approach for early cancer detection in children at high cancer risk.

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