Article Abstract

Lymph node imaging of pediatric renal and suprarenal malignancies

Authors: Samuel A. Gold, Vikram K. Sabarwal, Chirag Gordhan, Graham R. Hale, Andrew Winer


Pediatric renal and suprarenal cancers are relatively rare malignancies, but are not without significant consequence to both the patient and caretakers. These tumors are often found incidentally and present as large abdominal masses. Standard of care management involves surgical excision of the mass, but contemporary treatment guidelines advocate for use of neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy for advanced stage disease, such as those cases with lymph node involvement (LNI). However, LNI detection is based primarily on surgical pathology and performing extended lymph node dissection can add significant morbidity to a surgical case. In this review, we focus on the use and performance of imaging modalities to detect LNI in Wilms’ tumor (WT), neuroblastoma, and pediatric renal cell carcinoma (RCC). We report on how imaging impacts management of these cases and the clinical implications of LNI. A literature search was conducted for studies published on imaging-based detection of LNI in pediatric renal and suprarenal cancers. Further review focused on surgical and medical management of those cases with suspected LNI. Current imaging protocols assisting in diagnosis and staging of pediatric renal and suprarenal cancers are generally limited to abdominal ultrasound and cross-sectional imaging, mainly computed tomography (CT). Recent research has investigated the role of more advance modalities, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), in the management of these malignancies. Special consideration must be made for pediatric patients who are more vulnerable to ionizing radiation and have characteristic imaging features different from adult controls. Management of pediatric renal and suprarenal cancers is influenced by LNI, but the rarity of these conditions has limited the volume of clinical research regarding imaging-based staging. As such, standardized criteria for LNI on imaging are lacking. Nevertheless, advanced imaging modalities are being investigated and potentially represent more accurate and safer options.