Wilms Tumour

Wilms’ tumour is a specific type of tumour affecting the kidney in children, typically under the age of 5 years.



Consider a Wilms tumour in a child under the age of 5 years presenting with a mass in the abdomen. The parents may have noticed the mass, or they may present with signs and symptoms of:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Haematuria
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Hypertension
  • Weight loss



The initial investigation is an ultrasound of the abdomen to visualise the kidneys. A CT or MRI scan can be used to stage the tumour. Biopsy to identify the histology is required to make a definitive diagnosis.



Treatment involves surgical excision of the tumour along with the affected kidney (nephrectomy).

Adjuvant treatment refers to treatment that is given after the initial management with surgery. This depends on the stage of the disease, the histology and whether it has spread. The main options are:

  • Adjuvant chemotherapy
  • Adjuvant radiotherapy



Early stage tumours with favourable histology hold a good chance of cure (up to 90%). Metastatic disease has a poorer prognosis.


Last updated August 2019
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