Efficacy of Systemic Chemotherapy Plus Radical Nephroureterectomy for Metastatic Upper Tract Urothelial Carcinoma

Eur Urol. 2017 May;71(5):714-718. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2016.11.012. Epub 2016 Nov 29.


Given the growing body of evidence supporting the benefit of primary tumor control for a wide range of metastatic malignancies, we hypothesized that chemotherapy plus radical nephroureterectomy (RNU) is associated with an overall survival (OS) benefit compared to chemotherapy alone for metastatic upper tract urothelial carcinoma (mUTUC). Within the National Cancer Data Base (2004-2012), we identified 398 (38.4%) and 637 (61.6%) patients who received chemotherapy plus RNU and chemotherapy alone, respectively. Inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW)-adjusted Kaplan-Meier curves showed that 3-yr OS was 16.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 12.1-20.3) for chemotherapy plus RNU and 6.4% (95%CI 4.1-8.7) for chemotherapy alone (p<0.001). In IPTW-adjusted Cox regression analysis, chemotherapy plus RNU was associated with a significant OS benefit (hazard ratio 0.70, 95% CI 0.61-0.80; p<0.001). Despite the usual biases related to the observational study design, our findings show a net OS benefit for fit patients who received chemotherapy plus RNU for mUTUC relative to their counterparts treated with chemotherapy alone.

Patient summary: We examined the role of radical nephroureterectomy in addition to systemic chemotherapy for metastatic upper tract urothelial carcinoma. We found that such treatment may be associated with an overall survival benefit compared to chemotherapy alone in fit patients.

Keywords: Drug therapy; Propensity score; Renal pelvis; Survival; Ureter; Ureteral neoplasms; Urothelial carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Bone Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / therapy*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Logistic Models
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Nephroureterectomy / methods*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Ureteral Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ureteral Neoplasms / therapy*