OBJECTIVE: To evaluate patients with a history of transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the upper urinary tract (UUT) to determine the incidence, pathological distribution, and risk factors for developing subsequent bladder tumours. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between 1993 and 2003, 103 patients were treated at our institution for UUT-TCC. We reviewed demographic, clinical, surgical, and pathological data from these patients at a median follow-up of 38.7 months, and used univariate and multivariate analyses with logistic regression modelling to determine prognostic variables for bladder recurrences. RESULTS: In all, 51 (49.55%) patients developed bladder tumours after treatment for UUT-TCC, at a mean interval of 13.2 months. Patient age (P = 0.01), UUT tumour size (P = 0.03), UUT tumour multifocality (P = 0.05), a history of bladder tumours (P = 0.03), and the number of previous bladder tumours (P = 0.05) predicted the development of bladder recurrences on univariate analysis. On multivariate analysis, only a previous history of bladder tumours (odds ratio 2.6, P = 0.05) remained significant. Over 90% of the recurrent bladder tumours were superficial, with two-thirds of these being low to moderate grade. Six patients had muscle-invasive disease, and five had a cystectomy. CONCLUSION: Bladder tumours occurred in half the patients after treatment for UUT-TCC; >60% of these subsequent bladder tumours were superficial, low- to moderate-grade lesions. Neither the pathology of the UUT tumours nor the method of treatment for the UUT disease was associated with recurrent bladder tumours. Only a history of bladder cancer predicted the development of subsequent bladder tumours.
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