Revisiting tumor patterns and penetrance in germline : temporal phases of Li–Fraumeni syndromeTP53: temporal phases of Li–Fraumeni syndrome mutation carriers: temporal phases of Li–Fraumeni syndrome

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Purpose of review

Germline pathogenic TP53 mutation may predispose to multiple cancers but penetrance and cancer patterns remain incompletely documented. We have analyzed international agency for research on cancer TP53 database to reevaluate age and variant-dependent tumor patterns.

Recent findings

Genome-wide studies suggest that germline variants are more frequent than estimated prevalence of Li–Fraumeni syndrome (LFS), suggesting that many carriers of potentially pathogenic mutations may not develop the syndrome. Carriers of a germline TP53 mutation who are detected in a clinical context have a penetrance of 80% at age 70. Penetrance varies according to age, sex and mutation type. Temporal tumor patterns show distinct phases, with childhood phase (0–15 years, 22% of all cancers) characterized by adrenal cortical carcinoma, choroid plexus carcinoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and medulloblastoma; early adulthood phase (16–50 years, 51%) including breast cancer, osteosarcoma, soft tissue sarcomas, leukemia, astrocytoma and glioblastoma, colorectal and lung cancer; late adulthood phase (51–80 years, 27%) including pancreatic and prostate cancer.


Germline pathogenic variants in TP53 gene have different consequences according to cell, tissue, context and age. The occurrence of frequent variants in patients with no criteria suggestive of LFS calls for attention in predicting individual risk and highlights the need of additional predictors for assigning carriers to appropriate surveillance programs.

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