Baseline results from the UK SIGNIFY study: a whole-body MRI screening study in TP53 mutation carriers and matched controls

Fam Cancer. 2017 Jul;16(3):433-440. doi: 10.1007/s10689-017-9965-1.


In the United Kingdom, current screening guidelines for TP53 germline mutation carriers solely recommends annual breast MRI, despite the wide spectrum of malignancies typically seen in this group. This study sought to investigate the role of one-off non-contrast whole-body MRI (WB MRI) in the screening of asymptomatic TP53 mutation carriers. 44 TP53 mutation carriers and 44 population controls were recruited. Scans were read by radiologists blinded to participant carrier status. The incidence of malignancies diagnosed in TP53 mutation carriers against general population controls was calculated. The incidences of non-malignant relevant disease and irrelevant disease were measured, as well as the number of investigations required to determine relevance of findings. In TP53 mutation carriers, 6 of 44 (13.6, 95% CI 5.2-27.4%) participants were diagnosed with cancer during the study, all of which would be considered life threatening if untreated. Two were found to have two primary cancers. Two participants with cancer had abnormalities on the MRI which were initially thought to be benign (a pericardial cyst and a uterine fibroid) but transpired to be sarcomas. No controls were diagnosed with cancer. Fifteen carriers (34.1, 95% CI 20.5-49.9%) and seven controls (15.9, 95% CI 6.7-30.1%) underwent further investigations following the WB MRI for abnormalities that transpired to be benign (p = 0.049). The cancer detection rate in this group justifies a minimum baseline non-contrast WB MRI in germline TP53 mutation carriers. This should be adopted into national guidelines for management of adult TP53 mutation carriers in addition to the current practice of contrast enhanced breast MRI imaging.

Keywords: Controls; Li Fraumeni syndrome; Screening; TP53 mutation carriers; Whole body MRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*
  • United Kingdom
  • Whole Body Imaging / methods
  • Young Adult


  • TP53 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53