The significance of lymphadenectomy in transitional cell carcinoma of the upper urinary tract


Dr Miyake Department of Urology, Kobe University School of Medicine, 7–5-1 Kusunoki-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650, Japan. (Current address: Department of Cancer Endocrinology, British Columbia Cancer Agency, 600 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Z 4E6 Canada.)



 To determine the efficacy of lymphadenectomy after nephroureterectomy in patients with transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the upper urinary tract.

Patients and methods

 Between January 1986 and December 1995, 72 patients (mean age 67 years, range 45–82) underwent nephroureterectomy for primary TCC of the upper urinary tract. In 35 patients, a lymphadenectomy was also performed. The clinicopathological data were analysed retrospectively, focusing on the significance of lymphadenectomy.


 Lymph vessel invasion was found in 28 patients and its incidence was closely correlated with both tumour grade and pathological stage. Of the 35 patients who underwent lymphadenectomy, lymph node metastases were found in 13 patients, all of whom had lymph vessel invasion. There was no significant difference in the survival rate between patients with and without lymphadenectomy; however, among the 44 patients with no lymph vessel invasion, the survival rate of those with lymphadenectomy was significantly higher than in those without (P<0.05).


 Lymphadenectomy may provide a therapeutic advantage in patients with upper urinary tract TCC and no lymph vessel invasion. However, patients with lymph vessel invasion seem to have systemic disease; therefore, aggressive systemic adjuvant therapies rather than regional lymphadenectomy should be applied in these patients.