Background: The prognostic impact of primary tumor location on outcomes for patients with upper-tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) is still contentious. Objective: To test the association between tumor location and disease recurrence and cancer-specific survival (CSS) in patients treated with radical nephroureterectomy (RNU) for UTUC. Design, setting, and participants: Prospectively collected data were retrospectively reviewed from 324 consecutive patients treated with RNU between 1995 and 2008 at a single tertiary referral center. Patients who had previous radical cystectomy, preoperative chemotherapy, previous contralateral UTUC, or metastatic disease at presentation were excluded. This left 253 patients for analysis. Tumor location was categorized as renal pelvis or ureter based on the location of the dominant tumor. Recurrences in the bladder only, in nonbladder sites, and in any site were analyzed. Intervention: All patients were treated with RNU. Measurements: Recurrence-free survival and CSS probabilities were estimated using Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses. Results and limitations: Median follow-up for survivors was 48 mo. The 5-yr recurrence-free probability (including bladder recurrence) and CSS estimates were 32% and 78%, respectively. On multivariable analysis, pathologic stage was the only predictor for disease recurrence (p = 0.01). Tumor location was not an independent predictor for recurrence (hazard ratio: 1.19; p = 0.3), and there was no difference in the probability of disease recurrence between ureteral and renal pelvic tumors (p = 0.18). On survival analysis, we also found no differences between ureteral and renal pelvic tumors on probability of CSS (p = 0.2). On multivariate analysis, pathologic stage (p < 0.0001) and nodal status (p = 0.01) were associated with worse CSS. This study is limited by its retrospective nature. Conclusions: Our study did not show any differences in recurrence and CSS rates between patients with ureteral and renal pelvic tumors treated with RNU.
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