Researchers at the Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center (DF/CHCC) Kidney Tumor Program oversee laboratory and clinical research designed to improve understanding and treatment of pediatric kidney tumors. Here are some of the things we’ve been working on:
- Identifying the best treatment for Wilm’s tumor
Major advancements have occurred in treatment of Wilm’s tumor over the last two decades, primarily because of studies by the National Wilm’s Tumor Study Group, of which Boston Children's Hospital is a member. These studies have rigorously compared treatment regimens and have shown that, in some types of Wilm’s Tumor, briefer courses of therapy are as effective as longer courses.
- Risk-stratifying treatment of children with bilateral tumors
The traditional treatment for pediatric kidney tumors is a two-step process: Surgeons remove as much of the tumor as possible, then oncologists use chemotherapy to kill remaining cancerous cells. If the tumor is bilateral, appearing in both kidneys, chemotherapy is sometimes also used before surgery to reduce the size of the tumor.
Our researchers are participating in research on the use of interval pathological review throughout treatment to evaluate the best therapeutic approach for bilateral pediatric kidney tumors.
- Searching for markers
Researchers are conducting studies to better understand how to diagnose and treat renal tumors. For example, researchers are pursing basic science research to find out whether kidney tumors emit markers in a child’s urine. If discovered, these markers could be used to screen for early recurrence of relapsed cancers. They may also help clinicians screen types of tumors up front, so treatments are personalized to the exact make up of a child’s tumor.
- Treating rhabdoid tumors
Elizabeth Mullen, MD, director of the Kidney Tumor Program, is involved in a Children’s Oncology Group working group for rhabdoid tumors that reaches across disease groups (brain and spinal tumors, kidney tumors and rare tumors) and disciplines. Although rhabdoid tumors were once thought to be a type of Wilms’ tumor, they are now considered to be a separate category altogether. This national initiative is being led by Susan Chi, MD from our Pediatric Brain Tumor and Carlos Rodrieguez-Galindo from our Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Programs. Charles Roberts, MD, PhD is Children’s lead investigator in basic science research in the area of rhabdoid tumors.
Survivorship & long-term care
Like all patients who were treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation, survivors of childhood kidney tumors may be at risk of developing problems or side effects later in life.
To help patients monitor their overall health after treatment is completed, we encourage children and adolescents to continue long-term care through Dana-Farber's David B. Perini Jr. Quality of Life Clinic. At this clinic, experts assess childhood cancer survivors of all ages for intellectual function, hormonal evaluation and treatment, neurological assessment and dental evaluation and treatment, among others.
For more information on the David B. Perini Jr. Quality of Life Clinic, click here.