Adjuvant and salvage radiotherapy for urothelial cell carcinoma of the upper urinary tract: experience in a single institution

Chang Gung Med J. 2012 May-Jun;35(3):247-54. doi: 10.4103/2319-4170.106147.


Background: To investigate the role of radiotherapy (RT) for upper urinary tract urothelial cell carcinoma (UTUC) after surgery.

Methods: Between July 1997 and February 2007, 40 patients who had undergone radical surgery and RT were selected. Twenty patients received RT as adjuvant treatment for advanced disease (PORT). The remainder received RT as salvage treatment (SART). The prescription dose of RT ranged from 32 to 66.6 Gy (median: 50 Gy). Cisplatin-based chemotherapy was given to 34 patients. The median follow-up was 61 months (22-93 months).

Results: At the time of analysis, 10 patients were alive, but two of them had tumor recurrence. Twenty-four patients died from disease recurrence, two died from chemotherapy-related complications, and two from non-cancer comorbidities. Two patients were lost to follow-up but one of them had tumor recurrence. The 3-year overall survival (OS) was 45% for the PORT group, and 16% for the SART group (p = 0.03). The 3-year progression-free survival (PFS) was 41% for the PORT group, and 12% for the SART group (p = 0.02). A prescription dose < 50 Gy (p = 0.02) was another poor prognostic factor. The 3-year OS was 38% for a prescription dose ≥ 50 Gy, and 18% for < 50 Gy (p = 0.06). The 3-year PFS improved from 7% to 41% if the prescribed dose was ≥ 50 Gy (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: According to our analysis, RT combined with chemotherapy is effective in the postoperative treatment of advanced disease and salvage treatment for recurrent UTUC. The prescription dose should be ≥ 50 Gy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Recurrence
  • Salvage Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urologic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Urologic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Urologic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Urothelium / pathology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cisplatin