Background: Patients with hereditary tumor syndromes undergo periodical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) screening with Gadolinium contrast. Gadolinium accumulation has recently been described in the central nervous system after repeated administrations. The prevalence and rate of accumulation in different subgroups of patients are unknown. Neither are the mechanism nor clinical impact. This may cause uncertainty about the screening. To explore the prevalence and rate of Gadolinium accumulation in different subgroups, we retrospectively analyzed MRIs of patients with von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL) and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC).

Methods: We determined the prevalence and rate of accumulation in the dentate nucleus and globus pallidus on unenhanced T1-weighted MRI from VHL and TSC patients. We compared the signal intensities of these regions to the signal intensity of the pons. We evaluated the impact of number of MRIs, kidney function and liver function on Gadolinium accumulation.

Results: Twenty eight VHL patients and 24 TSC patients were included. The prevalence of accumulation in the dentate nucleus and globus pallidus increased linearly according to number of Gadolinium enhanced MRIs and was higher in the VHL group (100%). A significant linear correlation between number of MRIs and increased signal intensity was observed in the VHL group.

Conclusions: Gadolinium accumulation occurs in almost all patients undergoing contrast MRI screening after >5 MRIs. We advocate a screening protocol for patients with hereditary tumor syndromes that minimizes the Gadolinium dose. This can be accomplished by using a single administration to simultaneously screen for brain, spine and/or abdominal lesions, using an MRI protocol focused on either VHL- or TSC-specific lesions. Higher prevalence and rate of accumulation in VHL patients may be explained by the typical vascular leakage accompanying central nervous system hemangioblastomas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages9
JournalHereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2018


  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex
  • Gadolinium accumulation
  • MRI screening
  • Familial tumor syndromes


Dive into the research topics of 'Central nervous system gadolinium accumulation in patients undergoing periodical contrast MRI screening for hereditary tumor syndromes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this