Nephroblastoma (Wilms tumor) is a relatively rare primary congenital cancer of the canine kidney and spinal cord.
Nephroblastoma originate from the metanephric blastema and result from abnormal differentiation of the kidney during embryogenesis. These neoplastic tumors consist of blastema, epithelial, and mesenchymal components in various stages of differentiation.
In humans, nephroblastoma is the most frequent solid tumor in children, representing 8-10% of pediatric malignances. In dogs, diagnosis is usually established later in life, with patients presenting with weight loss, lumbar pain. A palpable abdominal swelling may be observed during examination of the patient.
Primary renal nephroblastoma is commonly metastatic, with the spine, bone marrow and lungs being the preferential site. Nephroblastoma can be highly invasive locally and often attains a large size (up to 25cm diameter). Metastases are primarily to the liver, mesentery, and lungs; however, the contralateral kidney, adrenal gland, thyroid, urinary bladder, and bone can be affected.
Nephrotic syndrome has been reported in humans associated with this disease, but has not been noted in dogs.
Primary spinal nephroblastoma appears to predominate in younger (4 - 14 months) female dogs. All show varying degrees of progressive paraparesis, paraplegia, or ataxia, and have a poor survival rate.
Urinalysis of renal nephroblastoma usually reveals varying degrees of nonspecific hematuria, pyuria and proteinuria, and hematological analysis may show varying degrees of neutrophilia, anemia and thrombocytopenia. Hypertrophic osteoarthropathy may occur secondary to this condition as a consequence of metabolic dysfunction.
A presumptive diagnosis can be made on clinical signs, intravenous pyelography, radiographic, ultrasonographic and CT examinations, but a definitive diagnosis usually requires histopathological analysis of biopsied renal tissue. Immunhistochemistry using antibody to the human Wilms tumour (nephroblastoma) gene product WT1 has been used in some cases where classification is uncertain.
Clinical staging may assist in predicting survival
- Stage 1 - tumour confined to kidney and resected completely
- Stage 2 - tumour not confined to kidney but resected completely
- Stage 3 - tumour extends to abdomen and not resected completely
- Stage 4 - metastatic disease
- Stage 5 - bilateral renal involvement
Favourable Histology: No anaplasia Unfavourable Histology: Anaplastic or sarcomatous component
Median survival for dogs with primary renal nephroblastoma ranges from 1 - 6 months, depending on the time of diagnosis and treatment options, although successful treatments have been reported in early cases of unilateral nephreblastoma with nephrectomy, vincristine and doxorubicin.
Vincristine and actinomycin D are usually recommended for most cases, however doxorubicin is added for stage 2 tumors with unfavorable histology and stage 3 tumors with favorable histology.
Radiation therapy is recommended for stages 3 and 4 tumors with favorable histology and stage 2-4 tumors with unfavorable histology.
- Urinary pathology images
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