Urothelial Carcinoma of the Renal Pelvis and Ureter: Does Location Make a Difference?

Aye A. Lwin, Chiu Hsieh Hsu, Juan Chipollini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: There is a paucity of data on outcomes of upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) arising from the renal pelvis (RPUC) versus UTUC arising from the ureter (UUC). The published literature is conflicting, and there is no consensus on patient prognosis based on disease location. The aim of this study is to compare clinical and survival outcomes based on location of primary tumor using a large national registry. Materials and Methods: The National Cancer Database was queried from 2010 to 2016 for patients with localized (cN0M0) UTUC. Patients were stratified based on location of tumor. Survival analysis was performed using Cox proportional hazard regression and inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW)-adjusted Kaplan-Meier curves. We also performed exploratory analyses based on tumor stage. Results: We identified 11,922 patients who underwent surgical treatment. The median follow-up was 32.1 months. Patients with RPUC presented with higher tumor stage and grade. Patients with UUC were treated with less radical nephroureterectomy (56.4% vs. 84.3%; P < .01). IPTW-adjusted Kaplan-Meier curves demonstrated higher median overall survival for RPUC versus UUC (71.1 vs. 66.8 months, respectively; P = .01). This benefit was consistent across tumor stage subgroups, reaching statistical significance in patients with T1 disease. On multivariable analysis, ureteral location of tumor was a predictor of worse survival. Conclusion: Patients with UUC were found to be treated with less radical surgery and to have worse survival than those with RPUC. These patients may suffer from poor initial staging and suboptimal treatments. Further studies are needed to evaluate potential biological differences of UTUC based on tumor location.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-49.e1
JournalClinical Genitourinary Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Outcomes
  • Renal pelvis urothelial carcinoma
  • Survival
  • Upper tract urothelial carcinoma
  • Ureteral urothelial carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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