A survey carried out to detect children with aniridia/Wilms's tumour syndrome identified 8 living and 3 dead children. The incidence of aniridia was found to be 1 in 43 among Wilms's tumour patients in the UK. The clinical features included complete bilaterial aniridia, cataracts, glaucoma, mental retardation, hyperkinesis, hypospadias, and undescended testes. A high incidence of bilateral tumours (36%), male sex, presentation at a young age, and advanced maternal age appeared to be associated with the syndrome. The 8 living children each had a deletion on the short arm of chromosome 11. In contrast, although 2 patients with sporadic aniridia without Wilms's tumour had other malformations, neither had genitourinary anomalies, and the only additional problems in patients with familial aniridia were cataracts. Among 49 children with Wilms's tumour without aniridia ony one had bilateral tumours. No chromosome abnormalities were detected in patients with familial aniridia, nor were they detected in patients with Wilms's tumour without aniridia or in those with sporadic aniridia without Wilms's tumour. While many infants with the Wilms's tumour/aniridia syndrome are clinically diagnosable at birth, chromosome analysis using the elongated chromosome method is especially valuable to confirm the diagnosis in girls with sporadic aniridia and in boys who lack the genitourinary malformations. The presence of an 11p13 deletion confirms the diagnosis of the Wilms's tumour/aniridia syndrome and indicates a very high risk for the development of Wilms's tumour.
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