Factors affecting the risk of contralateral Wilms tumor development: a report from the National Wilms Tumor Study Group

Cancer. 1999 Apr 1;85(7):1616-25. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0142(19990401)85:7<1616::aid-cncr26>3.0.co;2-4.


Background: Approximately 1% of children with unilateral Wilms tumor develop contralateral disease. The authors assessed the demographic and histologic features associated with metachronous bilateral Wilms tumor (BWT).

Methods: Characteristics of all children registered on the first four National Wilms Tumor Studies (NWTS) were recorded. The primary endpoint for evaluation was the first appearance of Wilms tumor in the remaining kidney. The cumulative risk of contralateral disease as a function of time since initial presentation was calculated as 1 minus the Kaplan-Meier estimate of remaining free of contralateral disease. A matched case control study was conducted to determine whether the presence and type of nephrogenic rests (NRs) were associated with metachronous BWT.

Results: Fifty-eight of 4669 registered children developed metachronous BWT; 38 of 2445 females (expected, 30.2) versus 20 of 2224 males (expected, 27.8) (P = 0.04) developed BWT. The cumulative incidence of contralateral disease 6 years after initial diagnosis decreased from greater than 3% in the first NWTS to approximately 1.5% in the three subsequent studies (P = 0.08). Patients with NRs had a significantly increased risk of metachronous BWT. This was particularly true for young children (20 of 206 age < 12 months compared with 0 of 304 age > 12 months). Data from the matched case control study confirmed the increased relative risk associated with young age and the presence of NRs.

Conclusions: Children younger than 12 months diagnosed with Wilms tumor who also have NRs, in particular perilobar NRs, have a markedly increased risk of developing contralateral disease and require frequent and regular surveillance for several years. Surveillance is also recommended for those with NRs who are diagnosed after the age of 12 months.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kidney / abnormalities
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / etiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Wilms Tumor / pathology*