In the International Society of Paediatric Oncology renal tumour trials, pre-operative chemotherapy has been successfully applied with resulting reduction of tumour rupture and increased favourable stage distribution of nephroblastoma. Post-operative treatment includes chemotherapy and sometimes radiotherapy in a risk-adapted approach based on histological sub-classification and stage of the tumour. However, preoperative chemotherapy alters tumour’s histological features and distribution of subtypes, and makes staging more difficult. The paper highlights the most common practical diagnostic difficulties that a pathologist is faced with in dealing with pre-treated nephroblastomas. It emphasises the importance of a systematic, step-by-step analysis based on adequately sampled material, in order to accurately sub-classify a nephroblastoma as a low, intermediate or high risk tumour and assign its genuine stage. Finally, it outlines the standard operating procedure for submission of renal tumours for rapid central pathology review which allows the treating oncologists to apply the optimal treatment protocol.
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