Upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) is uncommon relative to primary bladder transitional cell carcinoma, with notable differences at the genetic, molecular and clinical levels. A variety of management options with similar oncologic outcomes are available for UTUC. Regardless of upper tract treatment modality, recurrence in the bladder consistently occurs in 20-50% of patients, thus presenting a significant clinical challenge. The initial intravesical relapse typically occurs within the first 2 years following upper tract therapy, but the risk is lifelong and repeat episodes are common. The identification of variables that allow accurate risk stratification of UTUC patients with regards to future bladder relapse is crucial. Unfortunately, to date, no variables have been identified that can reliably predict, such bladder recurrences. A history of bladder cancer prior to UTUC resection and upper tract tumor multifocality are frequently reported clinical risk factors. Candidate molecular markers, such as E-cadherin, also hold promise for improving patient risk stratification. The impact of bladder recurrences on patient survival is still poorly defined. The risk of progression to invasive bladder disease is not well documented but appears to be an infrequent event. This article highlights important recent observations and key current issues regarding UTUC and subsequent bladder cancer. In addition, we suggest a bladder surveillance regimen following UTUC and provide recommendations for managing patients with intravesical recurrences.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research