In Europe, almost 1000 children are diagnosed with a malignant renal tumour each year. The vast majority of cases are nephroblastoma, also known as Wilms' tumour (WT). Most children are treated according to Société Internationale d'Oncologie Pédiatrique Renal Tumour Study Group (SIOP-RTSG) protocols with pre-operative chemotherapy, surgery, and post-operative treatment dependent on stage and histology. Overall survival approaches 90%, but a subgroup of WT, with high-risk histology and/or relapsed disease, still have a much poorer prognosis. Outcome is similarly poor for the rare non-WT, particularly for malignant rhabdoid tumour of the kidney, metastatic clear cell sarcoma of the kidney (CCSK), and metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Improving outcome and long-term quality of life requires more accurate risk stratification through biological insights. Biomarkers are also needed to signpost potential targeted therapies for high-risk subgroups. Our understanding of Wilms' tumourigenesis is evolving and several signalling pathways, microRNA processing and epigenetics are now known to play pivotal roles. Most rhabdoid tumours display somatic and/or germline mutations in the SMARCB1 gene, whereas CCSK and paediatric RCC reveal a more varied genetic basis, including characteristic translocations. Conducting early-phase trials of targeted therapies is challenging due to the scarcity of patients with refractory or relapsed disease, the rapid progression of relapse and the genetic heterogeneity of the tumours with a low prevalence of individual somatic mutations. A further consideration in improving population survival rates is the geographical variation in outcomes across Europe. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the current biological knowledge of childhood renal tumours alongside the progress achieved through international collaboration. Ongoing collaboration is needed to ensure consistency of outcomes through standardised diagnostics and treatment and incorporation of biomarker research. Together, these objectives constitute the rationale for the forthcoming SIOP-RTSG ‘UMBRELLA’ study.

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European Journal of Cancer
Department of Pediatrics

Brok, J. (Jesper), Treger, T.D. (Taryn D.), Gooskens, S., van den Heuvel-Eibrink, M., & Pritchard-Jones, K. (2016). Biology and treatment of renal tumours in childhood. European Journal of Cancer (Vol. 68, pp. 179–195). doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2016.09.005