Background: The treatment preserving the kidney for upper urinary tract tumor is still controversial. The indications and results of conservative treatment remain to be elucidated. Experiences of this type of treatment are reported.
Methods: Between April 1981 and March 1998, 14 patients with upper urinary tract transitional cell carcinoma were treated with renal preserving methods. Five were elective and nine were imperative cases. Treatments performed were partial nephrectomy, partial ureterctomy with or without adjuvant chemotherapy, endoscopic tumor resection and topical bacillus Calmette-Guerin instillation in one, 10, two and one patient, respectively.
Results: Crude and cause-specific 5 year-survival rates were 91.7 and 100%, respectively. Of 14 patients, five had bladder recurrences, but ipsilateral local recurrence developed in only one patient. Two patients died from metastasis of transitional cell carcinoma 61 and 89 months after initial treatment. The lesions of carcinoma in situ were well controlled with topical bacillus Calmette-Guerin therapy.
Conclusion: The results of conservative treatment for upper urinary tract tumor were satisfactory and local excision can be indicated for low grade, solitary tumors located in the distal ureter.