Objective: To assess the impact of patient age on outcomes after radical nephroureterectomy (RNU) for upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC).
Patients and methods: Data were collected on 1453 patients treated with RNU at 13 centres. Pathological slides were reviewed by dedicated genitourinary pathologists according to standardized criteria. Age at RNU was analysed both as a continuous and categorical variable (<50, n = 85; 50-59.9, n = 229; 60-69.9, n = 416; 70-79.9, n = 523; > or =80 years, n = 200). RESULTS Patients aged <50 years were less likely to have undergone previous ureteroscopy and to have a history of bladder cancer (P < or = 0.026). Advanced age was associated with infiltrative architecture and female gender (P < or = 0.003). Patients aged >70 years were less likely to undergo lymphadenectomy and to receive adjuvant chemotherapy (P < or = 0.026). In multivariable analyses, being older was associated with decreased all-cause (AC) survival (>60 years) and cancer-specific survival (CSS; >80 years) after controlling for the effects of standard pathological features (P < or = 0.006). However, addition of age did not improve the predictive accuracy of a base model that included standard pathological features for prediction of either disease recurrence, AC survival or CSS.
Conclusions: Being older at the time of RNU was associated with decreased survival. This finding could be due to a change in the biological potential of the tumour cell, a decrease in the host's defence mechanisms, or differences in care patterns. Further work is needed to improve our understanding of UTUC outcomes in this growing segment of the population and to develop strategies to improve cancer control in the elderly.