Wilms tumor and multicystic dysplastic kidney disease

J Urol. 1997 Dec;158(6):2256-9; discussion 2259-60. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(01)68227-2.


Purpose: There is ongoing controversy concerning the management of multicystic dysplastic kidney disease, particularly with regard to the potential for malignant transformation. Our report fuels the debate by adding the 2 youngest patients in whom malignancy was present from birth or developed subsequently.

Materials and methods: Two well documented cases of malignancy associated with multicystic dysplastic kidney disease are presented in 2 female infants (5 and 3 months old). The 5-month-old female infant was followed for multicystic dysplastic kidney disease and had no evidence of tumor either antenatally or at birth. The 3-month-old presented with hypertension and interventricular septal defect. A renal tumor was present on initial ultrasound.

Results: Even though malignant degeneration is rare in multicystic dysplastic kidney disease, 9 cases have been reported in the literature so far. Of these cases 3 were Wilms tumor, 5 were renal cell carcinomas and 1 mesothelioma.

Conclusions: Our 2 cases lend support to the surgical management of multicystic dysplastic kidney disease, particularly as nephrectomy can now be performed in a day surgery setting with minimal morbidity. Only the risks of coexisting malignancy and possible malignant degeneration transformation are specifically addressed in this article. Other complications of multicystic dysplastic kidney disease such as hypertension, infection, abdominal pain, hematuria and persistent dysplastic renal tissue despite ultrasonographic resolution of multicystic dysplastic kidney disease are additional risk factors to be considered. A recommendation for nephrectomy in all cases of multicystic dysplastic kidney disease cannot be based only on these 2 cases. Several other factors must be weighed before making that decision.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kidney Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Kidney Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Polycystic Kidney Diseases / complications*
  • Wilms Tumor / diagnosis
  • Wilms Tumor / etiology*