Controversies and advances in the management of Wilms' tumour

Arch Dis Child. 2002 Sep;87(3):241-4. doi: 10.1136/adc.87.3.241.


Wilms tumour is one of the success stories of paediatric oncology with long term survival approaching 90% in localised disease and over 70% for metastatic disease. Although appearing relatively simple compared to other cancer treatment regimens, successful treatment of Wilms tumour requires meticulous attention to correct staging of the tumour and good communication between the paediatric surgeon, pathologist and oncologist. The controversy of whether pre-operative chemotherapy results in a reduced overall burden of treatment compared to immediate nephrectomy has been addressed by the recently closed UKW3 randomised trial. Challenges remain in identification of histological and molecular risk factors for stratification of treatment intensity to allow safe reduction in therapy and avoidance of late sequelae for the majority while leading to increased biological insights and ultimately novel therapies for the minority of high risk tumours. Genetic predisposition to Wilms tumour is conferred by several genes, some of which cause malformation rather than cancer and may be of low penetrance. The proportion of children with heritable disease is uncertain and there remains a need to collect data on the need for screening in this susceptible population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Testing / methods
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / genetics
  • Kidney Neoplasms / surgery
  • Kidney Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Risk Assessment
  • WT1 Proteins / genetics
  • Wilms Tumor / genetics
  • Wilms Tumor / surgery
  • Wilms Tumor / therapy*


  • WT1 Proteins