Age distributions, birth weights, nephrogenic rests, and heterogeneity in the pathogenesis of Wilms tumor

Norman E. Breslow*, J. Bruce Beckwith, Elizabeth J. Perlman, Anthony E. Reeve

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Background. The National Wilms Tumor Study (NWTS) constitutes a unique resource for study of clinical, pathologic, and epidemiologic features of Wilms tumor (WT). Procedure. Data from NWTS-3,4,5 were compiled for 7,455 patients with tumors of favorable (FH) or anaplastic (AH) histology. The associations of birth weight (BW) and age-at-onset with gender, intralobar (ILNR), and perilobar (PLNR) nephrogenic rests, tumor focality, congenital malformation syndromes, and tumor histology were analyzed using descriptive statistics and linear regression. Results. Mean BWs for male and female patients without PLNR were 3.52 and 3.36 kg, respectively, and for those with PLNR were 0.12 kg and 0.15 kg heavier. Mean age was 45 months for males with no rests whose tumors were unifocal and of triphasic favorable histology. ILNR or multifocality decreased the mean age by 18 and 10 months, respectively, whereas female gender, blastemal/FH or AH increased it by 3, 10, and 16 months. Over 90% of multifocal tumors occurred in the presence of demonstrated ILNR or PLNR or both. The apparent bimodality of the age distributions and later mean ages-at-onset for females with both unifocal and multifocal tumors were explained in part by the relative deficit in females of ILNR versus PLNR-associated tumors. Conclusions. These observations support the view that there are multiple pathways to Wilms tumorigenesis. They will facilitate selection of informative subgroups of patients for molecular analysis that may serve to identify the putative pathway for the majority of patients who cannot be classified provisionally on the basis of ILNR or PLNR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-267
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Epidemiology
  • Molecular genetics
  • Pathology
  • Wilms tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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