Signs and symptoms
Clinically, Denys–Drash is characterized by the triad of pseudohermaphroditism, mesangial renal sclerosis, and Wilms' tumor. The condition first manifests as early nephrotic syndrome and progresses to mesangial renal sclerosis, and ultimately renal failure—usually within the first three years of life.
The cause of DDS is most commonly (96% of patients) an abnormality in the WT1 gene (Wilms tumor suppressor gene). These abnormalities include changes in certain exons (9 and 8) and mutations in some alleles of the WT1 gene. Genetically, the syndrome is due to mutations in the Wilms tumor suppressor gene, WT1, which is on chromosome 11 (11p13). These mutations are usually found in exons 8 or 9, but at least one has been reported in exon 4.
A 1994 review of 150 cases reported in the literature found that 38% had died with a mean age of death of 2 years. 32% were still alive at the time of the report with a mean age of 4.65. No data were available for the remainder. The author described living with DDS as "walking a multidimensional tight rope".