Preoperative Chemotherapy for Patients With Wilms Tumor in Malawi Is Feasible and Efficacious

Pediatric Blood & Cancer (Impact Factor: 2.39). 10/2009; 53(4):584 - 589. DOI: 10.1002/pbc.22138


Wilms tumor has a survival rate of 85–90% in well resourced countries but in low income countries survival is lower. Malawi is a country with very limited resources. We studied the feasibility, toxicity and efficacy of preoperative chemotherapy for Wilms tumor in Malawian children.Methods
All patients diagnosed with a Wilms tumor, admitted in Blantyre, Malawi, from 2006 to 2008, were included. These patients received SIOP-based preoperative chemotherapy followed by surgery and risk-stratified post-operative chemotherapy. Social support and counseling were provided to prevent abandonment of treatment.ResultsTwenty patients were included. Mean tumor volume at diagnosis was 2,500 ml and eight patients (40%) had metastases. Ninety-five percent of patients presented with hypertension, 80% with microscopic hematuria and 60% with a raised platelet count. Preoperative chemotherapy resulted in >50% tumor reduction in 55% of patients with localized disease and 75% of patients with metastatic disease. During preoperative chemotherapy, 11 of 18 patients experienced ≥ grade 3 anaemia, 7 patients experienced ≥ grade 3 neutropenia. In 12 patients the tumor was resected. Reasons of treatment failure were: abandonment of treatment (N = 3), death during anaesthesia induction (N = 1), inoperability (N = 5, due to metastatic disease in N = 4) and relapse (N = 2). One patient died of malaria 2 months after completion of chemotherapy. Eight patients (40%) are alive with a median follow up of 8 months (range 0–1.5 years).Conclusion
Preoperative chemotherapy for Wilms tumor is feasible, tolerated and efficacious in Malawi. Continued efforts are needed to encourage early presentation and to prevent abandonment. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2009;53:584–589. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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