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Rev Urol. 2006 Spring;8(2):61-70.

Treatment of upper tract urothelial carcinoma: a review of surgical and adjuvant therapy.


Upper tract urothelial carcinoma is a disease entity that has not been as extensively studied and reviewed as carcinoma of the bladder. Recent advances in technology and adjuvant therapy have changed the treatment armamentarium of oncologists and urologists. A literature review was conducted that focused on newer surgical techniques, including laparoscopy and endoscopic management of upper tract disease. Adjuvant therapy including immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and radiation is also reviewed. Nephroureterectomy with removal of a bladder cuff still remains the gold standard of treatment. However, laparoscopic nephroureterectomy is quickly becoming popular, with equivalent recurrence rates. Because of the relatively recent introduction of laparoscopy into the urologic field, long-term data with respect to recurrence rates and survival rates are not yet available. Immunotherapy has also shown promise, but with higher recurrence rates than surgery. Chemotherapy and radiation also show some improvement in recurrence rates, but there have been no randomized, prospective trials. Endoscopic management is acceptable in patients with severe medical comorbidities or solitary kidneys but requires rigorous and close follow-up. Adjuvant therapy with either chemotherapy or radiation is still debated but does offer some improvement in disease-specific survival. Randomized, prospective, placebo-controlled studies are required but are difficult to perform because of the relatively low incidence and prevalence of this disease.


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