Impact of renal function on eligibility for chemotherapy and survival in patients who have undergone radical nephro-ureterectomy

BJU Int. 2013 Aug;112(4):453-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11649.x. Epub 2013 Mar 6.


What's known on the subject? and what does the study add?: Radical nephroureterectomy (RNU), the standard of care treatment for high-risk urothelial carcinoma of the upper tract (UTUC), results in loss of a renal unit. Loss of renal function decreases eligibility for systemic chemotherapies and results in decreased overall survival in various malignancies. The study shows that only a small proportion of patients had a preoperative renal function that would allow cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Moreover, eGFR significantly decreased after RNU, thereby lowering the rate of cisplatin eligibility to only 16 and 52% of patients based on the thresholds of 60 and 45 mL/min/1.73 m(2) , respectively. Taken together with the rest of the literature, the findings of the study support the use of cisplatin-based chemotherapy, when indicated, in the neoadjuvant rather than adjuvant setting.

Objective: To report (i) the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) changes in patients undergoing radical nephro-ureterectomy (RNU) for upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC); (ii) the rate of change in eGFR in patients eligible for cisplatin-based chemotherapy; and (iii) the association of preoperative, postoperative and rate of change of renal function variables with survival outcomes.

Patient and methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 666 patients treated with RNU for UTUC at seven international institutions from 1994 to 2007. The eGFR was calculated at baseline and at 3-6 months (Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula (MDRD) and Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration formula (CKD-EP) equations).

Results: The median (interquartile range) eGFR decreased by 18.2 (8-12)% after RNU. A total of 37% of patients had a preoperative eGFR ≥ 60 mL/min/1.73 m(2) , which decreased to 16% after RNU (P < 0.001); 72% of patients had a preoperative eGFR ≥ 45 mL/min/1.73 m(2) , which decreased to 52% after RNU (P < 0.001). The distributions were similar when analyses were restricted to patients with locally advanced disease (pT3-pT4) and/or lymph node metastasis. Patients older than the median age of 70 years were more likely to have a decrease in eGFR after RNU (P < 0.001). None of the renal function variables was associated with clinical outcomes such as disease recurrence, cancer-specific and overall mortality; however, when analyses were restricted to patients who had no adjuvant chemotherapy and did not experience disease recurrence (n = 431), a preoperative eGFR ≥ 60 mL/min/1.73 m(2) (P = 0.03) and a postoperative eGFR ≥ 45 mL/min/1.73 m(2) (P = 0.04) were associated with better overall survival in univariable analyses.

Conclusions: In patients who had UTUC, eGFR was low and furthermore, it significantly decreased after RNU. Renal function did not affect cancer-specific outcomes after RNU.

Keywords: chemotherapy; radical nephroureterectomy; renal function; upper tract urothelial carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / physiopathology
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / surgery*
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Kidney Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / mortality
  • Kidney Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy / methods*
  • Patient Selection
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Ureter / surgery*