Selected High-Risk Patients With Upper Tract Urothelial Carcinoma Treated With Radical Nephroureterectomy for Adjuvant Chemotherapy: A Multi-Institutional Retrospective Study

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We investigated the efficacy of adjuvant chemotherapy (AC) in patients with upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) and determined those who qualified for AC. In multivariate analyses, 5 factors (≥pT3, pN+, G3, lymphovascular invasion, positive surgical margin) were independently predictive of poorer survival. Having more than 3 risk factors defined the high-risk group. AC was associated with improved survival in high-risk UTUC.


No definitive evidence exists regarding use of adjuvant chemotherapy (AC) for high-risk cases after radical nephroureterectomy (RNU), and the benefit of AC remains controversial. The aims of this study were to evaluate the efficacy of AC in patients with upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) and to determine those who qualified for AC.

Patients and Methods:

From 1990 to 2015, 449 patients with nonmetastatic UTUC underwent RNU at 6 Kitasato University-affiliated hospitals. Eight patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy were excluded from this study. One hundred patients (23%) received platinum-based AC for a median of 3 courses. Disease-free survival and cancer-specific survival (CSS) were estimated using the Kaplan–Meier method. Multivariate analyses were performed with the Cox proportional hazards regression model, controlling for the effects of clinicopathological factors.


The median age was 69 years, and the median follow-up period was 35.7 months. In multivariate analyses, factors independently predictive of poorer survival included pT stage (≥pT3), lymph node status (pN+), tumor grade (Grade 3), lymphovascular invasion, and soft tissue surgical margin. For the risk stratification model, patients were categorized into 3 groups on the basis of these 5 risk factors. In the high-risk group (at least 3 risk factors, 83 patients), 41 patients (49%) were treated with AC, and the 5-year CSS rate was higher in the AC group compared with the non-AC group (P = .02).


Having more than 3 risk factors defined the high-risk group among UTUC patients after RNU. AC was associated with improved CSS in patients with high-risk UTUC.

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