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J Urol. 2005 Dec;174(6):2120-3; discussion 2124.

Lymphovascular invasion independently predicts increased disease specific survival in patients with transitional cell carcinoma of the upper urinary tract.

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Department of Urology, Keio University School of Medicine, 35 Shinanomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan.



We investigated the prognostic impact of lymphovascular invasion (LVI) and traditional prognostic factors for survival in a large series of patients treated surgically for upper tract transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). We also developed a prognostic factors-based model for risk stratification of upper tract TCC.


We identified a study population of 173 consecutive patients treated surgically for upper tract TCC at our institution between 1980 and 2002. We compared LVI with other pathological features and determined the disease specific survival rate.


LVI was found in 52 patients (30.1%). As tumor grade and pathological stage increased, the incidence of LVI increased significantly. LVI was found in 12 of 133 patients (9.0%) without lymph node metastasis compared with 40 of 40 patients (100%) with lymph node metastasis. Five and 10-year disease specific survival rates were 84.9% and 80.4% in the absence of LVI, and 40.2% and 21.1% in the presence of LVI, respectively (p <0.001). In multivariate analysis LVI, pathological T stage and tumor grade were independent predictors for disease specific survival. The relative risk of death could be expressed with the formula, exp(0.729 x tumor grade + 1.659 x pathological T stage + 1.160 x LVI). Using this equation the patients were stratified into low risk (grade 1 or 2, LVI negative, stage pT2 or lower), high risk (any tumor grade, LVI positive, stage pT3 or greater) and intermediate risk (all others) groups with significant differences in survival. Five and 10-year disease specific survival rates were 93.0% and 89.4% in the low risk group (82 patients), 66.8% and 62.9% in the intermediate risk group (53 patients), and 25.6% and 0% in the high risk group (38 patients), respectively.


In addition to pathological stage and tumor grade, LVI is an independent prognostic factor for disease specific survival in upper tract TCC. Patients in the high and/or intermediate risk groups may benefit from integrated therapies with surgery and postoperative systemic chemotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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