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Urology. 2006 Jun;67(6):1181-7.

Comparison of open nephroureterectomy and ureteroscopic and percutaneous management of upper urinary tract transitional cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Groupe Hospitalo-Universitaire Est, Pitié-Tenon, University Paris VI, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, France.



To compare the outcomes in patients who had undergone either open nephroureterectomy or conservative endoscopic surgery (ureteroscopic or percutaneous management) for upper urinary tract transitional cell carcinoma.


We performed a retrospective review of the data for patients treated surgically for upper urinary tract transitional cell carcinoma from 1990 to 2004. The data included patient sex, age at diagnosis, mode of diagnosis, smoking history, history of bladder cancer, type of surgery, complications, and tumor site, size, stage, grade, recurrence, and progression. We also evaluated the recurrence and survival rates.


Data were analyzed for 97 patients. The median patient age was 68 years. Sixteen patients had a history of bladder tumor. The surgical procedure was open nephroureterectomy in 54 patients, ureteroscopy in 27, and percutaneous endoscopic ablation in 16. The tumor stage, grade, and site were independent prognostic factors for survival in a multivariate analysis (P <0.05). The 5-year disease-specific survival rate was 81.9% for low-grade tumors and 47.3% for high-grade tumors (P = 0.0001). A correlation (P = 0.002) was found between low-grade tumors and superficial tumors. In patients with low-grade tumors (n = 46), the 5-year disease-specific survival rate after nephroureterectomy, ureteroscopy, and percutaneous endoscopy was 84%, 80.7%, and 80%, respectively (P = 0.89); the corresponding 5-year tumor-free survival rates were 75.3%, 71.5%, and 72% (P = 0.78).


Conservative surgery can be recommended as an alternative to nephroureterectomy for low-grade or superficial upper urinary tract transitional cell carcinoma. For patients with high-grade or invasive tumors to be candidates for conservative surgery will require the development of additional prognostic factors (eg, molecular markers). These patients require long-term postoperative surveillance.

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