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Types of Childhood Kidney Tumors

  • Kidney tumors are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the kidney. There are two kidneys, one on each side of the backbone, above the waist. Tiny tubules in the kidneys filter and clean the blood, taking out waste products and making urine. The urine passes from each kidney through a long tube called a ureter into the bladder. The bladder holds the urine until it is passed from the body.

    Childhood kidney tumors include:

    • Wilms tumor is the most common type of kidney cancer in children. It can occur at any age between infancy and age 15, but is most common in children age 5 or younger. 
    • Nephroblastomatosis is a condition in which abnormal tissue grows on the outer part of one or both kidneys. Children with this condition are at risk for developing a type of Wilms’ tumor that grows quickly. 
    • Malignant rhabdoid tumor is a type of cancer that occurs mostly in infants and young children. It grows and spreads quickly, often to the lungs and brain.
    • Clear cell sarcoma of the kidney is a type of kidney tumor that may spread to the lung, bone, brain, and soft tissue.
    • Neuroepithelial tumors of the kidney are rare and usually occur in young adults. They grow and spread quickly.
    • Desmoplastic small round cell tumor of the kidney is a rare soft tissue sarcoma.
    • Cystic partially differentiated nephroblastoma is a very rare type of Wilms’ tumor made up of cysts.
    • Renal cell carcinoma is rare in children or in adolescents younger than 15 years of age. However, it is much more common in adolescents between 15 and 19 years of age. Renal cell carcinomas can spread to the lungs, bones, liver, and lymph nodes.
    • Mesoblastic nephroma is a tumor of the kidney that is usually diagnosed within the first year of life and can usually be cured.
    • Primary renal synovial sarcoma is a rare tumor of the kidney and is most common in young adults.
    • Anaplastic sarcoma of the kidney is a rare tumor that is most commonly found in children or adolescents younger than 15 years of age.

    Kidney tumor treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

    Children with kidney tumors receive highly coordinated multidisciplinary care through the Kidney Tumor Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. As a regional, national, and international referral center, our surgeons and solid tumor oncologists have extensive expertise in the care of children with kidney tumors, particularly those with bilateral tumors (tumors on both sides of the abdomen), large tumors, or complex tumor sub-types that are rarely seen elsewhere.