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Cancer Health Center

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Wilms Tumor and Other Childhood Kidney Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Wilms Tumor

Table 1. Syndromes and Conditions Associated With Wilms Tumor continued...

Several candidate genes at the WT2 locus comprise the two independent imprinted domains IGF2/H19 and KIP2/LIT1.[56] Loss of heterozygosity, which exclusively affects the maternal chromosome, has the effect of upregulating paternally active genes and silencing maternally active ones. A loss or switch of the imprint for genes (change in methylation status) in this region has also been frequently observed and results in the same functional aberrations. A study of 35 sporadic primary Wilms tumors suggests that more than 80% have somatic loss of heterozygosity or loss of imprinting at 11p15.5.[57] The mechanism resulting in loss of imprinting can be either genetic mutation or epigenetic change of methylation.[49,56] Loss of imprinting or gene methylation is rarely found at other loci, supporting the specificity of loss of imprinting at 11p15.5.[58] Interestingly, Wilms tumors in Asian children are not associated with either nephrogenic rests or IGF2 loss of imprinting.[59]

Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome results from loss of imprinting or heterozygosity of WT2 germline mutations. Observations suggest genetic heterogeneity in the etiology of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, with differing levels of association with risk of tumor formation.[60] Approximately one-fifth of patients with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome who develop Wilms tumor present with bilateral disease, and metachronous bilateral disease is also observed.[15,16,17] The prevalence of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome is about 1% among children with Wilms tumor reported to the National Wilms Tumor Study (NWTS).[1,17]

A relationship between epigenotype and phenotype has been shown in Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, with a different rate of cancer in Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome according to the type of alteration of the 11p15 region.[61] The overall tumor risk in Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome was estimated between 5% and 10%, with a risk between 1% (loss of imprinting at IC2) and 30% (gain of methylation at IC1 and paternal 11p15 isodisomy). Patients with IC1 gain of methylation only developed Wilms tumor, whereas other tumors such as neuroblastoma or hepatoblastoma could occur in patients with paternal 11p15 isodisomy.[62]

Wilms tumor gene on the X chromosome(WTX)

A third gene, WTX, has been identified on the X chromosome and plays a role in normal kidney development. This gene is inactivated in approximately one-third of Wilms tumors, but germline mutations have not been observed in patients with Wilms tumor.[63]WTX mutations are equally distributed between males and females. WTX inactivation is a frequent, but late, event in tumorigenesis and has no apparent effect on clinical presentation or prognosis.[64]

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