Background and Purpose: Endoscopic management of transitional-cell carcinoma (TCC) of the upper urinary tract remains associated with a significant rate of recurrence. We evaluated the impact of selective upper-tract cytology findings on tumor recurrence and renal salvage rate after ureteroscopic laser tumor ablation. Patients and Methods: From 1993 though 2003, 38 patients with upper-tract TCC underwent ureteroscopic laser tumor ablation. Cytology specimens were collected from the upper urinary tract prior to ablation. "Ab-normal cytology" was defined as the presence of malignant or atypical cells. Patients with abnormal cytology results were compared with patients with those having negative findings for tumor recurrence and renal salvage rates using the χ2 test. Results: Of the 38 patients, 26 (68.4%) experienced at least one recurrence at a mean follow-up of 37.2 months. Pretreatment upper-tract cytology results were available in 34 of these patients: 17 (50%) were negative, and 17 were abnormal. Sixteen of the patients (94.1%) with abnormal cytology results had tumor recurrence after ablation, compared with 8 of the 17 (47.1%) with negative cytology findings (P = 0.0026). Twelve patients (31.5%) underwent nephroureterectomy during follow-up: 8 of the 17 (47.1%) with abnormal cytology, and 4 of the 17 (23.5%) with negative cytology (P = 0.15). Conclusion: Abnormal selective cytology results were associated with a significantly higher rate of tumor recurrence and a trend toward increased renal loss in patients with upper-tract TCC treated with ureteroscopic ablation. These findings suggest a prognostic value for upper-tract cytology analysis in patients undergoing endoscopic therapy.
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