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Bladder recurrence after surgery for upper urinary tract urothelial cell carcinoma: frequency, risk factors, and surveillance.

OBJECTIVE: To highlight the main risk factors for metachronous bladder recurrence after treatment of an upper urinary tract urothelial cell carcinomas (UUT-UCCs) based on the recent literature.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data on urothelial malignancies after UUT-UCCs management in the literature were searched using MEDLINE and by matching the following key words: urinary tract cancer; bladder carcinomas, urothelial carcinomas, upper urinary tract, renal pelvis, ureter prognosis, carcinoma, transitional cell, renal pelvis, ureter, bladder cancer, cystectomy, nephroureterectomy, minimally invasive surgery, recurrence, and survival.

RESULTS: No evidence level 1 information from prospective randomized trials was available. A range of 15% to 50% of patients with a UUT-UCC will subsequently develop a metachronous bladder UCC. Intraluminal tumor seeding and pan-urothelial field change effect have both been proposed to explain intravesical recurrences. In most cases, bladder cancer arises in the first 2 years after UUT-UCC management. However the risk is lifelong and repeat episodes are common. The identification of variables that allow accurate risk stratification of UUT-UCC patients with regards to future bladder relapse is disappointing. No factors have been identified to date that can reliably predict bladder recurrences. A history of bladder cancer prior to UUT-UCC management and upper tract tumor multifocality are the only frequently reported clinical risk factors among current literature.

CONCLUSION: Prior histories of bladder cancer and upper tract tumor multifocality are the most frequently reported risk factors for bladder tumors following UUT-UCCs. Surveillance regimen is based on cystoscopy and on urinary cytology for at least 5 years.

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