New technologies for upper tract urothelial carcinoma management

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Purpose of review

Image enhancement techniques and optical diagnostic tools have emerged in the quest to improve diagnostics and treatment in patients with upper urinary tract carcinoma (UTUC). The aim of the present report is to describe their mechanisms of action and to assess the current evidence on applicability and utility in UTUC.

Recent findings

Image enhancement techniques including narrow band imaging, Image1 S, and photodynamic diagnosis aim at better visualization of malignant urothelium and especially flat tumours or carcinoma in situ which are often difficult to see with white light endoscopy. Conducted studies in the upper tract are scarce but first results show that tumour detection seems to be better for narrow band imaging and photodynamic diagnosis-guided inspection.

Recent findings

Optical diagnostic tools as confocal laser endomicroscopy and optical coherence tomography aim at providing real time optical biopsies giving pathologic information. A pilot study of optical coherence tomography proved its feasibility to visualize, grade and stage low and high-grade UTUC.


Better visualization of suspect lesions and optical diagnostic techniques providing real time optical biopsies aim to facilitate in higher diagnostic precision and optimal individualized treatment of our patients with UTUC. As the disease is rare, studies are scarce but indispensable for future implication of these techniques.

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