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Cancer

Kidney Cancer

02/06/2009

Question:

My 4 year old niece has cancer. She first got it when she was nearly two in her stomach and it was attached to the left kidney and part of lung. She had chemo & radiotherapy for this and surgery to remove it. She is now 4yrs old and doctors have confirmed she now has cancer in her right kidney. Doctors have stated the cancer has been caused because of the treatment received first time around and that chemo won`t treat it and if you get a transplant there`s a 90% chance of it growing back, this type of cancer is the first case of its kind in Ireland. I know there is an actual artery in the kidney from the tumor. They are in contact with doctors in America to see if anything can be done. Can someting be done? Are you able to remove the whole kidney with the artery in order to get it out? Will this be too hard on the left as this isn`t upto 100% working order now? Any information would be great. Thanks.

Answer:

Thank you for visiting NetWellness. I am not a pediatric oncologist, but I do happen to have some familiarity with this topic. Although you don’t specifically state the original type of cancer your niece orignally had, I believe that the current cancer is TFE3 Kidney Cancer. This is a newly discovered strain of cancer that is caused by certain types of chemotherapy administered to treat other primary cancers.

Unfortunately, none of the new drugs that are being used to treat childhood cancers are effective in treating TFE3 Kidney Cancer. In the United States, the best person to contact regarding treatment is James Geller, MD at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. In terms of having a pathology review, I recommend Ming Zhou, MD, PhD of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He commonly works with cases overseas and is well connected to other pathologists who are also familiar with this type of case.

As far as your questions about treatment, i.e.: removal of the kidney and/or artery, these questions can only be answered by the physicians who are currently treating your niece, and the physicians with whom they are consulting. A pediatric urologist may also need to be consulted to provide an assessment of kidney function and the ability of the other kidney to support her if the cancerous one is removed. Please accept my best wishes as you pursue treatment for your niece.

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Response by:

Thomas  Olencki, DO Thomas Olencki, DO
Clinical Professor of Medical Oncology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University