The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital provides comprehensive care for children with Wilms tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer that is also known as nephroblastoma. Our pediatric cancer team offers state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services.

Girl, father and pediatric oncologist Mark Applebaum, MD
Pediatric oncologist Mark Applebaum, MD, right, is part of a team of experts who care for children and adolescents with Wilms tumor.

Advanced Expertise

As active members of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), our physicians network with more than 250 medical centers worldwide. We participate in clinical trials of the newest, most promising treatments for all childhood cancers, including Wilms tumor.

Wilms Tumor Services

Comer Children’s offers comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for Wilms tumor. As one of the busiest pediatric cancer programs in the Midwest, we have the expertise and resources to care for children with any type of Wilms tumor.

The most important initial test used to diagnose Wilms tumor is a CT scan. The scan reveals the location of the tumor in one or both kidneys and shows the extent of the disease. This begins the staging process to determine if the tumor has spread to other parts of the abdomen or to the lungs.

In most cases, the affected kidney must be removed. A pathologist examines a microscopic sample of the kidney tissue to verify the diagnosis and to determine the aggressiveness and invasiveness of the tumor.

Each patient is assigned a stage based on the results of the CT scan, the pathology and other tests. Wilms tumor is always treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy and, in some cases, radiation therapy.

Some children will be eligible to participate in COG clinical trials. These treatment protocols are part of a nationwide, National Cancer Institute-sponsored effort to evaluate and monitor newer therapies.

In cases where there is a suspicion of a genetic link, Wilms tumor patients may be referred to our Pediatric Familial Cancer Clinic. This highly specialized clinic is dedicated to helping children and their families with inherited cancers.

Children facing cancer often have ongoing medical, emotional, social and developmental needs. Our doctors, nurses, social workers and child life specialists recognize these issues and can provide your family with the resources and tools to keep you informed, find assistance and help you cope.

While the cure rate for Wilms tumor is more than 90 percent, these patients may face other health issues as they grow older. Comer Children's Childhood Cancer Survivors Center is an integrated program aimed at the prevention and treatment of long-term issues associated with cancer therapy.