Can Computerized Tomography Accurately Stage Childhood Renal Tumors?

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Staging of childhood renal tumors is crucial for treatment planning and outcome prediction. We sought to identify whether computerized tomography could accurately predict the local stage of childhood renal tumors.

Materials and Methods:

We retrospectively reviewed our database for patients diagnosed with childhood renal tumors and treated surgically between 1990 and 2013. Inability to retrieve preoperative computerized tomography, intraoperative tumor spillage and nonWilms childhood renal tumors were exclusion criteria. Local computerized tomography stage was assigned by a single experienced pediatric radiologist blinded to the pathological stage, using a consensus similar to the Children's Oncology Group Wilms tumor staging system. Tumors were stratified into up-front surgery and preoperative chemotherapy groups. The radiological stage of each tumor was compared to the pathological stage.


A total of 189 tumors in 179 patients met inclusion criteria. Computerized tomography staging matched pathological staging in 68% of up-front surgery (70 of 103), 31.8% of pre-chemotherapy (21 of 66) and 48.8% of post-chemotherapy scans (42 of 86). Computerized tomography over staged 21.4%, 65.2% and 46.5% of tumors in the up-front surgery, pre-chemotherapy and post-chemotherapy scans, respectively, and under staged 10.7%, 3% and 4.7%. Computerized tomography staging was more accurate in tumors managed by up-front surgery (p <0.001) and those without extracapsular extension (p <0.001).


The validity of computerized tomography staging of childhood renal tumors remains doubtful. This staging is more accurate for tumors treated with up-front surgery and those without extracapsular extension. Preoperative computerized tomography can help to exclude capsular breach. Treatment strategy should be based on surgical and pathological staging to avoid the hazards of inaccurate staging.

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