Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Isochromosome 7q in Adult Wilms' Tumors: Diagnostic and Pathogenetic Implications

Rubin, Brian P. M.D., Ph.D.; Pins, Michael R. M.D.; Nielsen, G. Petur M.D.; Rosen, Seymour M.D.; Hsi, Bae-Li Ph.D.; Fletcher, Jonathan A. M.D.; Renshaw, Andrew A. M.D.

The American Journal of Surgical Pathology: December 2000 - Volume 24 - Issue 12 - p 1663-1669
Original Articles

Wilms' tumors affecting adults are rare and are thought to have a worse prognosis than similar stage tumors in the pediatric population. To understand these tumors better, the authors reviewed their multi-institutional experience in a series of nine lesions diagnosed as Wilms' tumors in adults. In addition to histologic and immunohistochemical examination, they performed cytogenetic analysis and fluorescence in situ hybridization. On review, four cases were reclassified: two “blastema only” as Ewing's sarcoma/primitive neuroectodermal tumor and the other two as clear cell sarcoma of soft parts and sarcoma not otherwise specified (NOS). Of the remaining five cases, three exhibited biphasic histology and two were triphasic. In this group, there were three women and two men, and patient age ranged from 17 to 37 years (median age, 26 years). Tumor size was large and ranged from 10 to 31 cm (median tumor size, 12.5 cm). Histologically, the tumors showed the typical features of Wilms' tumors with varying amounts of blastema (n = 5), epithelium (n = 5), and stroma (n = 2). No tumors contained anaplasia, and persistent renal blastema was not identified in the non-neoplastic kidney in any specimen. All tumors were positive for cytokeratins (CK7, n = 3; pan-keratin, n = 5), and one tumor was weakly positive for CD99 (O-13). Molecular analysis including dual color fluorescence in situ hybridization (all tumors), and cytogenetic analysis (n = 2) disclosed the presence of isochromosome 7q in three of five tumors whereas all tumors were diploid with respect to chromosome 12. Follow-up data ranged from 6 to 133 months (median follow-up, 82 months) with progression in only one patient who had stage IV disease with lymph node and lung metastases at presentation. The authors conclude that adult Wilms' tumor has been overdiagnosed. Most “blastema-only” tumors in adults are not Wilms' tumors, and in an adult, biphasic morphology should be the minimum criteria for their diagnosis. Using strict diagnostic criteria, adult Wilms' tumors have a relatively favorable prognosis. The characteristic findings of isochromosome 7q, lack of trisomy or tetrasomy for chromosome 12, and absence of persistent renal blastema suggest that the pathogenesis of Wilms' tumors in adults may be different than in the pediatric population. These genetic features may be helpful in distinguishing adult Wilms' tumors from other primary renal tumors.

From the Departments of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School (B.P.R., B.H., J.A.F., A.A.R.), Boston, Massachusetts; Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Medical School (M.R.P.), Chicago, Illinois; Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School (G.P.N.), Boston, Massachusetts; and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School (S.R.), Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Presented in part at the XXII International Congress of the International Academy of Pathology; Nice, France; October 18, 1998.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Brian P. Rubin, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, University of Washington Medical Center, 1959 N.E. Pacific St., Room BB210E, Box 356100, Seattle, WA, 98195-6100, U.S.A.; email:

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.