How is rhabdoid tumor of the kidney differentiated from Wilms tumor on imaging?

Updated: Mar 04, 2019
  • Author: Ali Nawaz Khan, MBBS, FRCS, FRCP, FRCR; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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The term rhabdoid is derived from the microscopic appearance of the tumor cells that resemble muscle cells. Rhabdoid tumors make up around 2% of renal neoplasms and are more common in infancy than in any other period. An association with brain tumors, especially medulloblastoma, has been described. The brain tumors may precede or appear several years after the detection of this tumor. Brain MRI is needed a part of the workup of rhabdoid tumors.

Like other neonatal masses, rhabdoid tumor of the kidney can be diagnosed in utero. In neonates, detection may follow their presentation with an abdominal mass, hypertension, or hypercalcemia. The age at presentation overlaps with that noted for congenital mesoblastic nephroma. The clinical and imaging characteristics of rhabdoid tumors of the kidney are similar to those of congenital mesoblastic nephroma, clear cell sarcoma, and Wilms tumor. Therefore, specific diagnosis is usually not possible. One important differentiating point is that clear cell sarcoma of the kidney and rhabdoid tumor of the kidney are invariably unilateral.

The prognosis for patients with a rhabdoid tumor of the kidney is much worse than that of patients with other renal tumors.

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