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Current Research on Pediatric Kidney Cancer

There is a wide range of tumors making up the spectrum of pediatric kidney cancers. But, they are not often diagnosed until they become large and cause swelling or pain. They might start spreading to the liver, lungs, or surrounding lymph nodes. Wilms tumor is the most common kidney cancer making up about 80% of all pediatric cancer cases. The other 20% comprises different cancers. Renal cell carcinoma is extremely rare among children. In most cases, the kidney tumor is unilateral meaning that it is present in only one kidney, but in rare cases, it can be found bilateral which means that it occurs in both kidneys. The most common symptoms of kidney tumors are swelling, pain, blood in the urine, a lump in the abdomen, etc. In case the tumor is contained completely inside one kidney, the typical treatment performed at the Rainbow Children’s Hospital is Nephrectomy surgery. The procedure removes the entire kidney. In case the tumor is bilateral or outside the kidney, portions of them are removed. There is a lot of research being done in the field. The Children’s Oncology Group (COG) is conducting a trial that is the first study of pediatric Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC). Through the trial, they were able to determine that, unlike the adult RCC, removing the tumor surgically produces favorable outcomes, irrespective of what the status of the lymph node is. Another research is studying the effectiveness and safety of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy in young adults and children with newly diagnosed diffuse anaplastic Wilms’ tumors (stage II to IV) or the relapsed favorable histology Wilms’ tumors (FHWT). The researchers are hoping that the results of the study will help them select the best treatment for the different types of Wilms’ tumor in children that are at high risk. When the tumor is diagnosed and treated at an early stage, young people and children with the tumor can recover and are even considered cured. However, the tumor becomes more difficult to treat when the kidney cancer has spread to other body parts, has returned after the first therapy, or if the patient has a form of renal cell carcinoma named renal medullary carcinoma that is associated with sickle cell trait. This type of cancer appears usually at an advanced stage. As researchers are learning more about cancer, they are exploring new methods of treating the condition.

Dr. Satya Prasad V.V.R

Consultant - Pediatric Nephrologist

Rainbow Children's Hospital, Banjara Hills