Pediatric Carcinomas and Other Rare Solid Tumors

Pediatric Carcinomas and Other Rare Solid Tumors


Carcinomas are the most common type of solid tumors in adults. In children, carcinomas (KAR-sih-NOH-muhs) are very rare.

The doctors at MSK Kids treat more young people with carcinomas and other rare solid tumors than most other cancer centers. Families come to us from across the country and around the world. We’ll match your child with a plan of care that matches the tumor and their needs.

Why choose MSK Kids for your child?

MSK’s team of experts in rare solid tumors

Your child’s care team includes surgeons, pediatric oncologists (cancer doctors who care for children), and other experts who treat children. Your care team also may have adult care specialists who are experts in treating your child’s type of carcinoma. As a team, they choose the best treatments and will talk with you about options for your child. 

Your care team may have these experts:

  • Endocrinologist (EN-doh-krih-NAH-loh-jist), a doctor with special training in endocrine problems, which affect glands and organs that make hormones.
  • Gastroenterologist (GAS-troh-EN-teh-RAH-loh-jist), a doctor with special training in the gastrointestinal (GI) system. This includes the esophagus, intestines, stomach, bile ducts, gallbladder, liver, and pancreas.
  • Nephrologist (neh-FRAH-loh-jist), a doctor with special training in treating kidneys.
  • Radiation oncologist, a cancer doctor with special training in using radiation therapy (RT) to treat cancer with radiation.
  • Genetic specialist, an expert in genetics and genetic testing.

We understand you’re worried about your child’s future and the side effects of treatment. We do all we can to give treatments that work well with the fewest side effects. Our goal is for your child to have the best life possible.

Types of carcinomas and other rare solid tumors we treat in kids

Our pediatric cancer specialists care for children, teens, and young adults who have many types of rare solid tumors. We treat:

  • Digestive cancers, such as colorectal cancer, pancreatoblastoma, gastric cancer, and neuroendocrine tumors. Colon cancers form from the lining of the intestines and rectum. Pancreatoblastoma (pan-kree-uh-toh-blas-TOH-muh) forms from the lining of the pancreas. Gastric cancer forms from the lining of the stomach.  Neuroendocrine (NOOR-oh-EN-doh-krin) tumors can form in the lining of the digestive tract or the pancreas.
  • Cancers of the thyroid, a gland in the neck which makes important hormones that control metabolism.
  • Adrenocortical carcinoma (uh-DREE-noh-KOR-tih-kul KAR-sih-NOH-muh) is a cancer of the outer layer of an adrenal gland. Your child has 2 adrenal glands, 1 on top of each kidney. They make important hormones.
  • Pleuropulmonary blastoma (PLOOR-oh-PUL-muh-NAYR-ee blas-TOH-muh). Known as PPB, this is a rare cancer.
  • Nasopharyngeal (ney-zoh-fuh-RIN-jee-uhl) carcinoma, a cancer of the nose and throat. It often happens in people who had an Epstein-Barr virus infection.
  • Cancers of the skin, such as melanoma.
  • Rare carcinomas and other rare solid tumors. These tumors grow because of certain abnormal (not normal) molecules. An example is NUTM1 carcinoma, a type of cancer that affects the NUTM1 gene.
  • Any solid tumors most often seen in adults.

What causes pediatric carcinomas?

In many cases, we do not know why a child gets a carcinoma or other type of rare solid tumor. Some children have certain inherited genes that cause a higher risk of getting some cancers. Inherited genes are passed on to children from their parents.

Some gene changes (mutations or variants) run in a family. By family, we mean people related to you by blood. We also call these family members your blood relatives. They’re not related to you through marriage or adoption.

For example, most children and teens with colorectal cancer have an inherited syndrome, such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). PPB happens most often in children with DICER1 gene mutations.

Adrenocortical tumors can start in children with TP53 mutations or one of these inherited syndromes:

  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome, which raises the risk of getting a few types of cancer.
  • Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, which causes very large babies who may get low blood sugar levels.
  • Hemihyperplasia (HEH-mee-HY-per-PLAY-zhuh), which makes one side of the body larger than the other.

Some cancers have genetic mutations that are not inherited. They can be treated with targeted anti-cancer drugs.

Mutations act the same way whether they’re inherited or just happen. The mutation makes the cells act in a way that’s not normal. They do not stop growing and form a tumor.

Genetic testing and counseling at MSK

Some rare tumors in kids are linked to certain mutations. We recommend children have a genetic evaluation through the MSK Kids Clinical Genetics Service and Pediatric Cancer Predisposition Screening Program in New York City.

Our experts can help you and your family understand the role of genetics in your child’s tumor. They can also see if genetic mutations may affect other family members. The genetic team offers guidance and support from your first consultation to follow-up care.

New Patient Appointments

Call 833-MSK-KIDS Available Monday through Friday, to (Eastern time)