• transitional cell carcinoma;
  • kidney neoplasms;
  • ureteral neoplasms;
  • chemotherapy;
  • neoadjuvant therapy



The authors evaluated the incidence of pathologic downstaging and complete remission (CR) in patients with high-grade ureteral and renal pelvic transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) (upper tract TCC) who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by surgery.


The study group comprised patients with biopsy-demonstrated, high-grade disease who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by nephrouterectomy from 2004 to 2008, during which time patients uniformly were considered for neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The control group comprised patients with biopsy-demonstrated, high-grade disease who underwent initial nephroureterectomy from 1993 to 2004, when patients uniformly underwent initial surgery. Multiple clinical and pathologic features were evaluated, and the primary endpoint was pathologic tumor classification.


One hundred seven patients in the control group underwent initial surgery, and 43 patients in the study group received neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Baseline demographics were similar between the groups except for a higher rate of sessile tumor architecture in the study group (72.1% vs 49.5%; P = .018). There was significant downstaging in study group patients compared with the historic control group (P = .004). The incidence of tumors classified as pathologic T2 (pT2) or as pT3 or higher was significantly lower in the study group (pT2, 65.4% vs 48.8%; P = .043; pT3 or higher, 47.7% vs 27.9%; P = .029). Fourteen percent of patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy had a pathologic CR.


Neoadjuvant chemotherapy was associated with a 14% CR rate and a significant rate of downstaging. While longer follow-up is awaited for survival data to mature, the current data provide justification for the sustained support of trials using this strategy. Cancer 2010. © 2010 American Cancer Society.