Malignant Rhabdoid Tumor

What is a malignant rhabdoid tumor?

Malignant rhabdoid tumor is a rare childhood tumor that commonly starts in the kidneys but also can occur in other soft tissues or in the brain, where it is referred to as atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor.

Malignant rhabdoid tumor occurs most commonly in infants and toddlers; the average age of diagnosis is 15 months old. There are about 20 to 25 new cases of malignant rhabdoid tumor diagnosed each year in the United States. Cells from a malignant rhabdoid tumor can spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body.

Our approach to malignant rhabdoid tumors at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

The treatment of malignant rhabdoid tumor involves a combination of therapies including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. However, because this tumor is rare and aggressive, there is no defined standard of care, and treatment options may be tailored to your child's situation. Your child's doctor and other members of your care team will discuss the options with you in depth. Prompt medical attention and aggressive therapy are important for the best prognosis.

Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center is a world-leading center in the research and treatment of rhabdoid tumors. Our vibrant program of basic and translational research into rhabdoid tumors is uncovering new opportunities to improve the care of children with malignant rhabdoid tumor. Our multidisciplinary treatment approach through our Kidney Tumor Program ensures in-depth discussion of each child and personalized treatment plans for every patient.

Find more in-depth information on malignant rhabdoid tumors on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s website, including answers to:

  • What causes a malignant rhabdoid tumor?
  • What are the symptoms of a malignant rhabdoid tumor?
  • How is a malignant rhabdoid tumor diagnosed?
  • How is a malignant rhabdoid tumor treated?
  • What is the latest research on malignant rhabdoid tumors?