Circulating Tumor DNA as a Biomarker in Patients With Stage III and IV Wilms Tumor: Analysis From a Children's Oncology Group Trial, AREN0533

J Clin Oncol. 2022 Sep 10;40(26):3047-3056. doi: 10.1200/JCO.22.00098. Epub 2022 May 17.


Purpose: The utility of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) analyses has not been established in the risk stratification of Wilms tumor (WT). We evaluated the detection of ctDNA and selected risk markers in the serum and urine of patients with WT and compared findings with those of matched diagnostic tumor samples.

Patients and methods: Fifty of 395 children with stage III or IV WT enrolled on Children's Oncology Group trial AREN0533 had banked pretreatment serum, urine, and tumor available. Next-generation sequencing was used to detect ctDNA. Copy-number changes in 1q, 16q, and 1p, and single-nucleotide variants in serum and urine were compared with tumor biopsy data. Event-free survival (EFS) was compared between patients with and without ctDNA detection.

Results: ctDNA was detected in the serum of 41/50 (82%) and in the urine in 13/50 (26%) patients. Agreement between serum ctDNA detection and tumor sequencing results was as follows: 77% for 1q gain, 88% for 16q deletions, and 70% for 1p deletions, with ĸ-coefficients of 0.56, 0.74, and 0.29, respectively. Sequencing also demonstrated that single-nucleotide variants detected in tumors could be identified in the ctDNA. There was a trend toward worse EFS in patients with ctDNA detected in the serum (4-year EFS 80% v 100%, P = .14).

Conclusion: ctDNA demonstrates promise as an easily accessible prognostic biomarker with potential to detect tumor heterogeneity. The observed trend toward more favorable outcome in patients with undetectable ctDNA requires validation. ctDNA profiling should be further explored as a noninvasive diagnostic and prognostic tool in the risk-adapted treatment of patients with WT.

Trial registration: NCT00379340.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Child
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Circulating Tumor DNA* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Nucleotides
  • Wilms Tumor* / genetics
  • Wilms Tumor* / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Circulating Tumor DNA
  • Nucleotides

Associated data