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Adv Urol. 2009:419028. doi: 10.1155/2009/419028. Epub 2009 Jan 26.

The role of chemotherapy in upper tract urothelial carcinoma.

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Section of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Maryland Avenue, MC2115, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Locally advanced upper tract urothelial carcinoma has a poor prognosis. While surgery represents the only potentially curable therapeutic intervention, recurrences are common and typically systemic in nature. It is thus reasonable to consider perioperative chemotherapy in an effort to decrease the risk of recurrence. There are very little direct data providing clinical guidance in this scenario. For urothelial cancer of the bladder, there are randomized phase III data demonstrating a survival advantage with neoadjuvant cisplatin-based combination chemotherapy. Although arguments favoring adjuvant chemotherapy could be made for upper tract urothelial cancer, the loss of renal function that occurs with nephrectomy can complicate administration of appropriate perioperative treatment. Therefore, by analogy to urothelial carcinoma of the lower tract, it is argued that cisplatin-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy should be the standard of care for patients with locally advanced upper tract urothelial cancer.

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