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Prog Urol. 2010 Apr;20(4):260-71. doi: 10.1016/j.purol.2010.01.008. Epub 2010 Mar 10.

[Checkup and management of upper urinary tract tumours in 2010: An update from the committee of cancer from the French National Association of Urology].

[Article in French]

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Service d'urologie, hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, université Paris VI, 47-83, boulevard de l'Hôpital, 75651 Paris cedex 13, France.


Urothelial carcinoma of the upper urinary tract (UUT-UCC) are rare tumours and represent about 5 % of urothelial tumours. There is a history of bladder cancer in 30 % of patients with UUT-UCC but less than 2 % of patients with bladder cancer have a location in the upper urinary tract. The main prognostic factors are age, grade and tumour stage. A High-MSI status is predictive of improved survival, especially in patients under 70years with invasive tumour. During the preoperative assessment, improved staging of UUT-UCC is now essential. The couple urine cytology and uro-CT is an element of staging that underestimates or overestimates some UUT-UCC. The diagnostic ureteroscopy has become a fundamental step in the preoperative evaluation of the tumour. Ureteroscopy allows to explore visually at least 95 % of the upper urinary tract and to perform biopsies of the tumour that help to determine the grade cell. It can also detect a possible secondary location unnoticed with imaging. An exhaustive preoperative assessment, including a systematic diagnostic ureteroscopy, should allow to explore UUT-UCC in a better manner and to increase the number of potential candidates for conservative treatment. The treatment of choice is currently nephroureterectomy with open approach. Superficial and/or low-grade UUT-UCCs have favourable outcomes similar to noninvasive tumours of the bladder (80 % specific survival at five years). Their surgical management is gradually evolving towards the maximum preservation of the upper urinary tract and of the renal parenchyma. The good oncologic results obtained after conservative endoscopic treatment (ureteroscopy, percutaneous treatment) make it a credible alternative to the radical surgery for the management of tumours with non-aggressive behaviour. However, the high cost of endoscopy equipment and supplies currently remains a factor limiting their distribution in France.

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