Comparison between laparoscopic and open radical nephroureterectomy in a contemporary group of patients: are recurrence and disease-specific survival associated with surgical technique?

Eur Urol. 2010 Nov;58(5):645-51. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2010.08.005. Epub 2010 Aug 11.


Background: Open radical nephroureterectomy (ORN) is the current standard of care for upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC), but laparoscopic radical nephroureterectomy (LRN) is emerging as a minimally invasive alternative. Questions remain regarding the oncologic safety of LRN and its relative equivalence to ORN.

Objective: Our aim was to compare recurrence-free and disease-specific survival between ORN and LRN.

Design, setting, and participants: We retrospectively analyzed data from 324 consecutive patients treated with radical nephroureterectomy (RN) between 1995 and 2008 at a major cancer center. Patients with previous invasive bladder cancer or contralateral UTUC were excluded. Descriptive data are provided for 112 patients who underwent ORN from 1995 to 2001 (pre-LRN era). Comparative analyses were restricted to patients who underwent ORN (n=109) or LRN (n=53) from 2002 to 2008. Median follow-up for patients without disease recurrence was 23 mo.

Intervention: All patients underwent RN.

Measurements: Recurrence was categorized as bladder-only recurrence or any recurrence (bladder, contralateral kidney, operative site, regional lymph nodes, or distant metastasis). Recurrence-free probabilities were estimated using Kaplan-Meier methods. A multivariable Cox model was used to evaluate the association between surgical approach and disease recurrence. The probability of disease-specific death was estimated using the cumulative incidence function.

Results and limitations: Clinical and pathologic characteristics were similar for all patients. The recurrence-free probabilities were similar between ORN and LRN (2-yr estimates: 38% and 42%, respectively; p=0.9 by log-rank test). On multivariable analysis, the surgical approach was not significantly associated with disease recurrence (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.88 for LRN vs ORN; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.57-1.38; p=0.6). There was no significant difference in bladder-only recurrence (HR: 0.78 for LRN vs ORN; 95% CI, 0.46-1.34; p=0.4) or disease-specific mortality (p=0.9). This study is limited by its retrospective nature.

Conclusions: Based on the results of this retrospective study, no evidence indicates that oncologic control is compromised for patients treated with LRN in comparison with ORN.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / surgery*
  • Cystectomy / methods
  • Cystectomy / mortality
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Kidney Neoplasms / mortality
  • Kidney Neoplasms / surgery
  • Laparoscopy / methods
  • Laparoscopy / mortality*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy / methods
  • Nephrectomy / mortality*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Ureteral Neoplasms / mortality
  • Ureteral Neoplasms / surgery
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / mortality
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / surgery
  • Urologic Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Urologic Neoplasms / surgery*