Bladder cancer after managing upper urinary tract transitional cell carcinoma: predictive factors and pathology


Douglas S. Scherr, New York-Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Medical Center, Department of Urology, 525 East 68th Street, Starr 900, New York, NY 10021, USA.



To evaluate patients with a history of transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the upper urinary tract (UUT) to determine the incidence, pathological distribution, and risk factors for developing subsequent bladder tumours.


Between 1993 and 2003, 103 patients were treated at our institution for UUT-TCC. We reviewed demographic, clinical, surgical, and pathological data from these patients at a median follow-up of 38.7 months, and used univariate and multivariate analyses with logistic regression modelling to determine prognostic variables for bladder recurrences.


In all, 51 (49.5%) patients developed bladder tumours after treatment for UUT-TCC, at a mean interval of 13.2 months. Patient age (P = 0.01), UUT tumour size (P = 0.03), UUT tumour multifocality (P = 0.05), a history of bladder tumours (P = 0.03), and the number of previous bladder tumours (P = 0.05) predicted the development of bladder recurrences on univariate analysis. On multivariate analysis, only a previous history of bladder tumours (odds ratio 2.6, P = 0.05) remained significant. Over 90% of the recurrent bladder tumours were superficial, with two-thirds of these being low to moderate grade. Six patients had muscle-invasive disease, and five had a cystectomy.


Bladder tumours occurred in half the patients after treatment for UUT-TCC; >60% of these subsequent bladder tumours were superficial, low- to moderate-grade lesions. Neither the pathology of the UUT tumours nor the method of treatment for the UUT disease was associated with recurrent bladder tumours. Only a history of bladder cancer predicted the development of subsequent bladder tumours.