Wilms tumor (WT) in adult patients is rare and has historically been a diagnostic and therapeutic conundrum, with limited data available in the literature.


To provide detailed diagnostic features, molecular profiling, and patient outcomes in a multi-institutional cohort of adult WT patients.


We identified and retrospectively examined 4 adult WT cases.


Two patients presented with metastatic disease, and diagnoses were made on fine-needle aspiration of their renal masses. The aspirates included malignant primitive-appearing epithelioid cells forming tubular rosettes and necrosis, and cell blocks demonstrated triphasic histology. In the remaining 2 cases, patients presented with localized disease and received a diagnosis on resection, with both patients demonstrating an epithelial-predominant morphology. Tumor cells in all cases were patchy variable positive for PAX8 and WT1 immunohistochemistry. Next-generation sequencing identified alterations previously reported in pediatric WT in 3 of 4 cases, including mutations in ASXL1 (2 of 4), WT1 (1 of 4), and the TERT promoter (1 of 4), as well as 1q gains (1 of 4); 1 case showed no alterations. Three patients were treated with pediatric chemotherapy protocols; during follow up (range, 26–60 months), 1 patient died of disease.


WT is an unexpected and difficult entity to diagnose in adults and should be considered when faced with a primitive-appearing renal or metastatic tumor. Molecular testing may help exclude other possibilities but may not be sensitive or specific because of the relatively large number of driver mutations reported in WT.

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Competing Interests

The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.

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