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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] - Rhabdoid Tumors of the Kidney


Recommendations for surveillance in patients with germline SMARCB1 mutations have been developed on the basis of epidemiology and clinical course of rhabdoid tumors. These recommendations were developed by a group of pediatric cancer genetic experts (including oncologists, radiologists, and geneticists). They have not been formally studied to confirm the benefit of monitoring patients with germline SMARCB1 mutations. The aggressive natural history of the disease, apparently high penetrance, and well-defined age of onset for CNS atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor suggest that surveillance could prove beneficial. Given the potential survival benefit of surgically resectable disease, it is postulated that early detection might improve overall survival (OS).[14]

  • Children younger than 1 year: It is suggested that patients have thorough physical and neurologic examinations and monthly head ultrasounds to assess for the development of a CNS tumor. It is suggested that patients undergo abdominal ultrasounds with focus on the kidneys every 2 to 3 months to assess for renal lesions.[14]
  • Children aged 1 to 4 years: From age 1 year to approximately age 4 years, after which the risk of developing a new rhabdoid tumor rapidly declines, it is suggested that brain and spine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and abdominal ultrasound be performed every 3 months.[14]

Standard Treatment Options for Rhabdoid Tumor of the Kidney

Because of the relative rarity of this tumor, all patients with rhabdoid tumor of the kidney should be considered for entry into a clinical trial. Treatment planning by a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists (pediatric surgeon or pediatric urologist, pediatric radiation oncologist, and pediatric oncologist) with experience treating renal tumors is required to determine and implement optimum treatment.

Patients with rhabdoid tumors of the kidney continue to have a poor prognosis. In a review of 142 patients from the National Wilms Tumor Studies (NWTS) NWTS-1 through NWTS-5, age and stage are important prognostic factors:[4]

  • Age at diagnosis. Infants younger than 6 months at diagnosis demonstrated a 4-year OS of 9%, whereas OS in patients aged 2 years and older was 41% (highly significant).
  • Stage of disease. Patients with stage I and stage II disease had an OS rate of 42%; higher stage was associated with a 16% OS.
  • Presence of a CNS lesion. All but one patient with a CNS lesion (n = 32) died.
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