Wilms Tumor - Childhood: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of tumor and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors are working to learn more about Wilms tumor, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your child’s doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options that are best for your family.

Bilateral Wilms tumors. The Children’s Oncology Group is studying how to treat bilateral Wilms tumors while preserving as much kidney function as possible.

Tumor markers. A tumor marker, also called a biomarker, is a substance found in a person's blood, urine, or body tissue that indicates a possible disease. Doctors in the United Kingdom have found that children with Wilms tumor who have a recurrence all have active genes on one area of a specific chromosome, known as the 1q area. Once the specific genes are identified, it is possible that new tests may be developed to predict which children are likely to have a recurrence.

Tumor genetics. A new Wilms tumor gene has been identified on the X chromosome, called WTX, and it plays a role in normal kidney development. The WTX gene is not active in approximately one-third of children with Wilms tumor. Studies on the importance of this gene are ongoing.

New therapy combinations. Researchers are looking at whether patients with a favorable histology Wilms tumor who have metastases in the lungs need radiation therapy to the lungs if the lung tumors go away after six weeks of chemotherapy. Researchers are also using a different chemotherapy, as well as radiation therapy to the lungs, to treat lung tumors that do not go away after six weeks.

New treatment methods. Doctors are looking at the effect of using only surgery as a treatment for patients with a small stage I tumor. After surgery, the patients are watched closely for a recurrence. 

Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current Wilms tumor treatments in order to improve children’s comfort and quality of life.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding Wilms tumor, explore these related items that will take you outside of this guide:

  • To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your child’s doctor or search online clinical trial databases now.
  • Visit ASCO’s CancerProgress.Net website to learn more about the historical pace of research for childhood cancer, called pediatric cancer on this website. Please note this link takes you to a separate ASCO website.

The next section addresses how to cope with the symptoms of the disease or the side effects of its treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Coping with Side Effects, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.