Disease Information

Solid Tumor: Wilms Tumor

Alternate Names: nephroblastoma

What is Wilms tumor?

Wilms tumor is a solid cancerous tumor of the kidney that arises from immature kidney cells.

For most children with Wilms tumor, no clear cause is known. Certain environmental factors (such as contact with toxic chemicals) may increase the risk of developing this disease, but more research is needed.

Children are more likely to develop Wilms tumor if they also have the following:

About 1.5% of children with Wilms tumor have a family member with the disease (familial Wilms tumor). About 5 to 10% of children with Wilms tumor have tumors in both kidneys (called bilateral tumors), which may be inherited.


How common is Wilms tumor?


What are the symptoms of Wilms tumor?

Wilms tumors can grow quite large before any symptoms develop. When they do appear, symptoms may be similar to those of other diseases. These symptoms include:


How is Wilms tumor treated?

Treatment involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy and may also involve radiation therapy (for patients with advanced disease).

In the United States, the tumor is almost always removed as soon as it is found. In Europe, the patient usually receives several weeks of chemotherapy first. Both methods produce high rates of treatment success.

If the tumor has spread outside the kidney into the abdomen or lungs, the child will require more intensive chemo and will receive radiation directed specifically at the tumor site(s).

For Wilms tumor that has returned (recurred), treatment depends on how far the disease has spread and which treatments were already used.


What are the survival rates for Wilms tumor?

Long-term survival rates are excellent:


Why choose St. Jude for your child’s Wilms tumor treatment?

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