Comparative Study
Journal Article
Randomized Controlled Trial
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Laparoscopic versus open nephroureterectomy: perioperative and oncologic outcomes from a randomised prospective study.

European Urology 2009 September
BACKGROUND: Laparoscopic nephroureterectomy (LNU) is increasingly being used instead of open nephroureterectomy (ONU) for the treatment of urothelial carcinoma (UC) of the upper urinary tract (UUT), but the evidence of equal oncologic effectiveness is still lacking.

OBJECTIVE: To present perioperative and oncologic results from a prospective randomised study comparing ONU and LNU.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Eighty patients with nonmetastatic UUT UC and without previous history of UC were enrolled. Of those, 40 patients (group A) randomly received ONU and 40 patients (group B) randomly received LNU.

INTERVENTIONS: ONU was performed through a flank incision with a lower quadrant incision to allow excision of a bladder cuff. Transperitoneal LNU was performed with a four-trocar technique, and bladder cuff was detached with a 10-mm LigaSure device.

MEASUREMENTS: Perioperative data were compared with the student t test. Bladder tumour-free survival (BTFS), metastasis-free survival (MFS), and cancer-specific survival (CSS) curves for both groups were compared with the log-rank test before and after stratifying patients for pT category and tumour grade.

RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS: Operative times were comparable, while mean blood loss and mean time to discharge were significantly lower in group B (both p values <0.001). At a median follow-up of 44 mo, BTFS, CSS, and MFS were not significantly different between the two groups (log rank test; BTFS: p=0.86; CSS: p=0.2; MFS: p=0.124). When matched for pT3 and high-grade tumours, CSS and MFS were significantly different between the two groups in favour of ONU (p=0.039 and p=0.004, respectively, for pT3 tumours; p=0.078 and p=0.014, respectively, for high-grade tumours). The limitations of our study include the small sample size, the single-centre experience, the personal choice of laparoscopic technique, and not performing lymphadenectomies. Perioperative data and preliminary oncologic results were presented at 22nd Congress of the European Association of Urology, Berlin, Germany.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with organ-confined UUT UCs, LNU has the advantages of minimal invasiveness and oncologic outcomes comparable to those of ONU, while its effectiveness in patients with advanced stage diseases remains to be proven.

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