Background: Li–Fraumeni syndrome greatly increases the risk of developing several types of cancer and is usually caused by TP53 germline mutations. Predictive testing of at-risk family members is only offered after a complex genetic counselling process. Recently the clinical implementation of array comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) has revolutionised the diagnosis of patients with syndromic or non-syndromic mental retardation and has evolved to a routinely performed high resolution whole genome scan. Methods and results: When using array CGH to identify the cause for mental retardation in a 7-year-old child we found a submicroscopic de novo deletion of chromosome 17p13.1, which includes several genes likely to be causative for her phenotype, and also of TP53. Conclusion: Thus, array CGH resulted in an unintended predictive diagnosis of an increased tumour susceptibility as observed in Li–Fraumeni syndrome.