Outcomes of subsequent non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer treated with intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guérin after radical nephroureterectomy for upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma

BJU Int. 2018 May;121(5):764-773. doi: 10.1111/bju.14111. Epub 2018 Jan 21.


Objectives: To describe the clinicopathological characteristics and prognosis of subsequent non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) after radical nephroureterectomy (RNU) for upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC), and particularly its response to intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG).

Patients and methods: An observational study was conducted in 1463 patients with UTUC who had undergone RNU and in 1555 patients with primary NMIBC. Of the 1463 patients with UTUC, 256 (17%) subsequently developed NMIBC (UTUC-NMIBC group) and were available for the analysis. The clinicopathological background and outcomes, including intravesical recurrence-free survival and bladder progression-free survival, were compared between the patients with UTUC-NMIBC and the patients with primary NMIBC treated with intravesical BCG. Propensity score matching was performed to adjust for the potential differences in the backgrounds of the two groups. To validate the utility of the CUETO scoring model in the UTUC-NMIBC group, risk scores were calculated and compared with the published probabilities for recurrence and progression.

Results: Compared with the unadjusted primary NMIBC group (n = 352), the UTUC-NMIBC group (n = 75) were found to have a worse prognosis for intravesical recurrence and progression, before propensity score matching. After propensity score matching for potential confounding factors, however, a worse prognosis was observed only for intravesical recurrence. The validation test of the CUETO scoring model for the UTUC-NMIBC group showed a significant difference in the rate of intravesical recurrence and progression for the 0-4 and 5-6 score groups between the UTUC-NMIBC group and the CUETO risk table reference data.

Conclusion: Compared with the primary NMIBC group, the UTUC-NMIBC group had a worse prognosis after intravesical BCG, especially with regard to intravesical recurrence. This suggests that patients with UTUC-NMIBC are inherently poor responders to BCG exposure. An optimal treatment strategy and risk scoring model to select patients for adjuvant intravesical BCG, chemotherapy or immediate radical cystectomy should be established.

Keywords: #BladderCancer; #blcsm; #utuc; Bacillus Calmette-Guérin; intravesical recurrence; progression; propensity score; upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use*
  • Administration, Intravesical
  • Aged
  • BCG Vaccine / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology*
  • Nephroureterectomy*
  • Prognosis
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urethral Neoplasms / pathology
  • Urethral Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • BCG Vaccine