Survival Rates for Wilms Tumors

Survival rates are often used by doctors as a standard way of discussing a person’s prognosis (outlook). These numbers tell you what portion of people in a similar situation (such as with the same type and stage of cancer) are still alive a certain amount of time after they were diagnosed. They can’t tell you exactly what will happen with any person, but they may help give you a better understanding about how likely it is that treatment will be successful. Some people find survival rates helpful, but some people might not.

For Wilms tumors, survival is often measured using a 4-year survival rate. This refers to the percentage of children who live at least 4 years after their cancer is diagnosed. For example, a 4-year survival rate of 80% means that an estimated 80 out of 100 children who have that cancer are still alive 4 years after being diagnosed. Of course, many children live much longer than 4 years (and many are cured).

To get 4-year survival rates, doctors have to look at children who were treated at least 4 years ago. Improvements in treatment since then may result in a better outlook for children now being diagnosed with Wilms tumors.

But remember, survival rates are estimates, and they can’t predict what will happen in a particular child’s case. Each child’s outlook can vary based on a number of factors specific to them. The most important factors in determining a child’s outlook are the stage and histology of the tumor. (Histology refers to how the cancer cells look under the microscope – see What Are Wilms Tumors?) But other factors can also affect a child’s outlook, such as the child’s age and how well the tumor responds to treatment.

Even when taking other factors into account, survival rates are only rough estimates. Your child’s cancer care team can tell you how the numbers below might apply, as they know your child’s situation best.

Survival rates for Wilms tumors

These survival rates are based on the results of the National Wilms Tumor Studies, which included most of the children treated in the United States in the last few decades. Some of these rates are based on only small numbers of children, so it’s hard to know how accurate they are.

Wilms Tumor 4-year Survival Rates

Tumor Stage

Favorable Histology

Focal Anaplastic

Diffuse Anaplastic

I

95% - 100%

85% - 90%

75% - 80%

II

95% - 100%

80% - 85%

80% - 85%

III

95% - 100%

75% - 90%

50% - 70%

IV

85% - 90%

70% - 75%

30% - 45%

V

95% - 100%

95% - 100%

65% - 70%

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Ehrlich P, Chi YY, Chintagumpala MM, et al. Results of the first prospective multi-institutional treatment study in children with bilateral Wilms tumor (AREN0534): A Report from the Children's Oncology Group. Ann Surg. 2017;266(3):470-478.

National Cancer Institute. Wilms Tumor and Other Childhood Kidney Tumors Treatment (PDQ®). 2018. Accessed at www.cancer.gov/types/kidney/hp/wilms-treatment-pdq on August 22, 2018.

Last Medical Review: October 17, 2018 Last Revised: October 17, 2018

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