Symptoms and signs

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Haematuria - fresh or old blood (old blood may make the urine resemble the appearance of cola)
  • Pallor
  • Tiredness
  • Unexplained, recurrent pyrexia
  • Back to back viral illnesses
  • Constipation or a change in bowel habit

About renal tumours in children

  • Around 90 children a year are diagnosed with renal tumours
  • 90% are Wilms tumours (also known as nephroblastoma)
  • The other 10% of renal tumours are made up of more aggressive tumour subtypes
    • Malignant rhabdoid tumours

    • Clear cell sarcoma of the kidney

    • Renal cell carcinoma

Wilms Tumour

Wilms tumours are embryonal tumours. Usually they are unilateral, but occasionally can be bilateral (Stage V).

Wilms usually occurs in children under the age of 5 with a peak incidence of 1-3 years of age.

Unilateral tumours are equally common in males and females, but bilateral tumours are more common in girls (1:2 ratio). 

​Although the causes of Wilms tumour are unknown, up to one in six children also have a congenital malformation syndrome as well including:

  • Denys–Drash syndrome

  • Beckwith-Weidemann syndrome

  • WAGR syndrome (Wilms tumour predisposition, aniridia, genitourinary anomalies, retardation).​

Chemotherapy and surgery, usually nephrectomy, are the mainstay of treatment. Higher risk tumours receive more aggressive chemotherapy with or without radiation too.

​Five-year survival averages at 90%, depending on staging and histology. However, 5% of Wilms’ tumours have unfavourable ‘anaplastic’ histology giving them much worse outcomes. 

Bilateral disease has a worse prognosis than unilateral and children with other types of renal tumour have a poorer prognosis.

Malignant rhabdoid tumours, whilst rare, have few survivors.


​Useful information resources 

These can be found published by the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group

My Child has a kidney tumour - produced by the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group and Bethany's Wish.

My Child's Wilms' Tumour has come back: treatment for relapsed Wilms' - produced by the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group and Bethany's Wish.