Wilms tumour in Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome and loss of methylation at imprinting centre 2: revisiting tumour surveillance guidelines

Eur J Hum Genet. 2017 Sep;25(9):1031-1039. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2017.102. Epub 2017 Jul 12.


Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS) is an overgrowth syndrome caused by a variety of molecular changes on chromosome 11p15.5. Children with BWS have a significant risk of developing Wilms tumours with the degree of risk being dependent on the underlying molecular mechanism. In particular, only a relatively small number of children with loss of methylation at the centromeric imprinting centre (IC2) were reported to have developed Wilms tumour. Discontinuation of tumour surveillance for children with BWS and loss of methylation at IC2 has been proposed in several recent publications. We report here three children with BWS reported to have loss of methylation at IC2 on clinical testing who developed Wilms tumour or precursor lesions. Using multiple molecular approaches and multiple tissues, we reclassified one of these cases to paternal uniparental disomy for chromosome 11p15.5. These cases highlight the current challenges in definitively assigning tumour risk based on molecular classification in BWS. The confirmed cases of loss of methylation at IC2 also suggest that the risk of Wilms tumour in this population is not as low as previously thought. Therefore, we recommend that for now, all children with a clinical or molecular diagnosis of BWS be screened for Wilms tumour by abdominal ultrasonography until the age of eight years regardless of the molecular classification.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome / complications
  • Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 11 / genetics
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing / methods
  • Genomic Imprinting*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Wilms Tumor / diagnosis
  • Wilms Tumor / etiology
  • Wilms Tumor / genetics*