Malignant Rhabdoid Tumor

What is a malignant rhabdoid tumor?

A malignant rhabdoid tumor is a rare childhood tumor that commonly starts in the kidneys but also can occur in other soft tissues or in the brain, where it is referred to as atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT). These tumors occur most commonly in infants and toddlers. The average age of diagnosis is 15 months old. There are about 20 to 25 new cases of malignant rhabdoid tumor diagnosed each year in the U.S. Cells from malignant rhabdoid tumors in children can spread to other areas of the body.

Meet Anabella.

Watching her deftly maneuver a playground with a huge smile on her face makes it hard to imagine once faced challenges far greater than a jungle gym.


Anabella, who had a rhabdoid tumor, poses with her older brother, Michael

How we care for malignant rhabdoid tumors

At Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, we treat children with a malignant rhabdoid tumor through our Solid Tumor Center, a world-leading center in the research and treatment of rhabdoid tumors. Our vibrant program of basic and translational research into rhabdoid tumors is uncovering new opportunities to improve the care of children with this diagnosis. Our multidisciplinary treatment approach ensures in-depth discussion of each child and personalized treatment plans for every patient.

Our areas of research for malignant rhabdoid tumor

Researchers at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's are global leaders in the basic and translational study of rhabdoid tumors. Their goal is to understand the biological basis of rhabdoid tumors, including the role(s) of mutations in the gene SMARCB1, and to develop more effective treatment methods for children with these tumors.

In addition, we have a phase I clinical trial open for children with refractory or relapsed malignant rhabdoid tumor, as well as access to any malignant rhabdoid tumor trials available through the Children's Oncology Group.

For many children with rare or hard-to-treat conditions, clinical trials provide new options.