Nephroblastoma (Wilms Tumor)
Nephroblastoma, also known as Wilms
tumor, is a
cancer that develops in children. It
is rare and usually occurs in children between 1 and 5 years; it affects
boys as well as girls. The exact causes and
factors of the cancer are not well known, but at most, it develops from embryonic tissue from the kidney. This is not a “bad cancer” comparably to other types of
malignant tumors; it has a high rate of healing.
Nephroblastoma is the most common malignant renal tumor in children and
is associated with abnormal proliferation of cells resembling those
of embryonic kidney, hence the
term "embryonic tumor." The annual incidence is
estimated to be about 1 child out of 10 000 births.
Causes and Risk
Factors of Nephroblastoma
As with all cancers, the cells, in this case of embryonic type, multiply and cause the formation of a malignant tumor in the tissue affected.
This cancer forms a mass in the
abdomen, swelling rapidly and the volume
quickly becomes associated with serious complications such as bleeding or/pain.
In most cases, one kidney is
affected, but the tumor can be bilateral in about 5% of cases
Signs and Symptoms of Nephroblastoma
The tumor grows quickly in the stomach much faster than
the development of the child. Health care professional or
Parents end up noticing invariably
during a medical visit or routine parental care.
It usually causes no impact on general condition, but its discovery
requiring prompt treatment to facilitate a good prognosis.
In most cases, Nephroblastoma is
not responsible for any symptom, and its
discovery is done by parents due to a palpable mass located in the
abdomen. Sometimes, these other signs are associated with
bleeding in the urine
rush of blood pressure.
In the absence of symptoms, it is only
by hazard that one sees the presence of a
ball in the stomach of the child. To
confirm the presence of nephroblastoma, a health care provider
usually proceeds to an abdominal ultrasound, which is the test of
choice to highlight the
tumor. This imaging technique is frequently associated
with abdominal CT scan. Once the tumor is confirmed,
a staging is necessary
to determine if there is migration of tumor cells to
lymph nodes surrounding tissue or
distant organs, metastatic nephroblastoma.
Nephroblastoma treatment options vary
depending on the size of the tumor, its extension in the abdomen, but also the results of the
staging. In general, the treatment consists firstly in chemotherapy, given cancer
of the kidney is particularly susceptible
to this type of treatment. The use of the chemo is
to reduce the size of the tumor prior
to surgical removal. Often the whole kidney is removed
Radiotherapy is also possible in advanced
cases. In 80% of cases, the treatment of
kidney cancer in children leads to healing. High-energy radiation (Co radiation)
is used according to very specific protocols. This allows the post-operative treatment of residual cancer cells
and the treatment of metastases.
However, radiotherapy is only made in second-line, because of its gastrointestinal
toxicity and its impact on bone
growth (scoliosis) of the child.