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Eur Urol. 2003 Oct;44(4):442-7.

Modified laparoscopic nephroureterectomy for treatment of upper urinary tract transitional cell cancer is not associated with an increased risk of tumour recurrence.

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Department of Urology, University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, A-1090, Vienna, Austria.



Laparoscopic nephroureterectomy reduces the morbidity of surgical management of urinary tract transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), but a potentially increased risk for local tumour spreading was reported. We evaluated results obtained from patients undergoing a modified laparoscopic approach and open procedures in this respect.


Between January 2000 and March 2002 we performed 19 modified laparoscopic nephroureterectomies (LNU) with open intact specimen retrieval in conjunction with open distal ureter and bladder cuff removal and 15 open standard nephroureterectomies (ONU). Staging lymphadenectomy was performed in 14/19 (73.7%) patients with LNU and in 6/15 (40.0%) with ONU. In all patients operating time, blood loss, complications, pain score (VAS) and data in respect to tumour recurrence were analysed. Mean follow-up was 22.1+/-9.2 (range 14-34) months for LNU and 23.1+/-8.8 (14-36) for ONU respectively.


In LNU and ONU pathological features were 12 pT1 vs. 10 pT1, 2 pT2 vs. 2 pT2 and 5 pT3 vs. 3 pT3, respectively. All patients had TCC and were R0 at final histology. Four patients with LNU had lymph node involvement, one in ONU. LNU had decreased operating times (p=0.057), blood loss (p=0.018), complications (p=0.001) and VAS scores (p=0.001). One tumour recurrence occurred in LNU, associated with a pT3b pN2 G3 TCC at final histology. One patient with ONU had local tumour recurrence at the site of the bladder cuff. No port-site metastasis occurred during follow-up with LNU.


Improved peri-operative results and same cancer control as compared to open surgery by this modified LNU was not associated with an increased risk for tumour recurrence, since strict "non-touch" preparation, avoiding of urine spillage and intact specimen retrieval prevents tumour seeding. However, results from long term studies are still warranted to clarify this issue.

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