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J Urol. 2003 Jan;169(1):82-5.

Conservative elective treatment of upper urinary tract tumors: a multivariate analysis of prognostic factors for recurrence and progression.

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Department of Urology and Medical Oncology, Instituto Valenciano de Oncologia, Valencia, Spain.



We evaluate the safety and efficacy of conservative elective treatment of upper urinary tract tumors, and determine predictive factors for recurrence and progression to optimize indications of this type of treatment.


Since 1984 we have performed a prospective study of conservative treatment of single, low grade and stage, less than 3 cm. upper tract tumors. The study includes 54 patients with a normal contralateral kidney who had been followed for more than 36 months. Open conservative surgery was performed in 31 cases and endourological surgery in 23. Minimum followup was 36 months, maximum 210 and mean 84.8. Univariate and multivariate analyses of recurrence and progression were performed in relation to age, sex, association with a bladder tumor, bladder tumor stage and grade, sequence of bladder tumor in relation to upper urinary tract tumor, number of previous bladder tumor recurrences, association with bladder carcinoma in situ, upper urinary tract tumor grade, stage, location, size and therapy, and upper urinary tract cytology.


Of the 54 patients 19 (35%) had recurrence, which was bilateral recurrence in 4, and progression occurred in 9 (16%). At the end of analysis 44 (62.9%) patients were disease-free and alive at a mean time of 92.88 months, 13 (24%) died disease-free at a mean of 72.7 months and 7 (12.9%) died of disease at a mean of 97.85 months. Cause specific mortality occurred in 7 (12.9% cases). Among the 54 initially conservatively treated units 42 (77.7%) kidneys were ultimately preserved. On univariate and multivariate analysis tumor location in the renal pelvis and association with a previous multi-recurrent bladder tumor were variables significantly related to recurrence and progression, as well as bilateral recurrence.


Conservative treatment is an optional approach for select upper urinary tract tumors. The strongest risk factors for recurrence and progression were association with a previous multi-recurrent bladder tumor and tumor location in the renal pelvis but these conditions were also the strongest risk factors for bilateral recurrence. Conservative treatment can also be recommended in these cases but only with compliant patients and close followup.

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