Nephroblastoma Treatment and Outcomes in a Low-Income Setting

JCO Glob Oncol. 2022 Jul;8:e2200036. doi: 10.1200/GO.22.00036.


Purpose: Nephroblastoma is a highly curable pediatric cancer that requires multidisciplinary care. Few reports have assessed long-term treatment outcomes in low-resource settings using a task-shifting model of care. We report outcomes of a large cohort and factors associated with survival.

Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of all patients with nephroblastoma presenting to the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence in Rwanda between July 2012 and June 2018.

Results: In total, 136 patients were identified and treated according to International Society of Pediatric Oncology guidelines for low-income settings. Median age at diagnosis was 39.7 months (interquartile range, 25.3-61.8 months); 56.6% were female. Sixty-one (44.9%) patients presented with stage I-III disease, 35 (25.7%) with stage IV disease, and 6 (4.4%) with stage V disease; the remainder were unstaged (n = 34; 25.0%). Most patients completed surgery (n = 97; 71.3%) and postoperative chemotherapy (n = 82; 60.2%); 17 patients received radiotherapy. With a median follow-up time of 18.1 months, 44.9% of patients were alive, 41.9% had died, 8.8% were lost to follow-up, and 4.4% were referred for palliative care or declined further care at the end of the study. Three-year overall survival was 57.5% (95% CI, 48.1 to 65.8) for the entire cohort, and 80.1% (95% CI, 66.8 to 88.5) and 44.0% (95% CI, 26.8 to 60.0) for stages I-III and IV-V, respectively.

Conclusion: We demonstrate that patients with nephroblastoma can be successfully treated in a low-resource setting. Survival remains lower than in high-income countries, in part due to early deaths, contributing to approximately 30% of patients not being medically able to receive surgical intervention. Next steps include the development of strategies that focus on earlier diagnosis, supportive care during the early phases of therapy, and efficient and timely transitions between specialties for multimodal care.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Male
  • Poverty
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Testicular Neoplasms*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wilms Tumor* / therapy