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J Urol. 1999 Mar;161(3):783-5.

Impact of diagnostic ureteroscopy on long-term survival in patients with upper tract transitional cell carcinoma.

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Department of Urology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio 44195, USA.



We determine whether diagnostic retrograde ureteroscopy for evaluation of upper tract transitional cell carcinoma adversely affects survival outcomes in terms of urothelial and metastatic tumor recurrence, and tumor-free and overall survival.


A total of 96 patients underwent total nephroureterectomy or resection of the distal ureter with a bladder cuff for upper tract transitional cell carcinoma. Of the patients 48 (study group) had undergone preoperative diagnostic ureteroscopy while 48 (control group) had not. Grade and stage of disease were compared, and time to recurrence, and disease-free and overall survival were analyzed.


Grade and stage of disease were equivalent in both groups. There were no significant differences in recurrence rates, time to recurrence or mortality between the groups. Metastases developed in 9 patients (18.8%) in the control group and 6 (12.5%) in the study group (p = 0.58), while 5 (10.4%) in each group died of metastases of upper tract carcinoma (p = 1.00). Kaplan-Meier estimates were 0.67 and 0.71 for metastasis-free survival at 5 years (p = 0.25, not significant) and 0.87 and 0.76 for overall 5-year survival (p = 0.75, not significant) for the study and control groups, respectively.


Diagnostic ureteroscopy has no clinically apparent adverse effect on long-term or disease specific survival of patients with upper tract transitional cell carcinoma who subsequently undergo standard definitive surgical management.

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