Degree of hydronephrosis predicts adverse pathological features and worse oncologic outcomes in patients with high-grade urothelial carcinoma of the upper urinary tract

Paul H. Chung, Laura Maria Krabbe, Oussama M. Darwish, Mary E. Westerman, Aditya Bagrodia, Bishoy A. Gayed, Ahmed Q. Haddad, Payal Kapur, Arthur I Sagalowsky, Yair Lotan, Vitaly Margulis

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29 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate degree of hydronephrosis (HN) as a surrogate for adverse pathological features and oncologic outcomes in patients with high-grade (HG) and low-grade (LG) upper tract urothelial carcinomas (UTUCs). Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 141 patients with localized UTUCs that underwent extirpative surgery at a tertiary referral center. Preoperative imaging was used to evaluate presence and degree of ipsilateral HN. We evaluated degree of HN (none/mild vs. moderate/severe), pathological findings, and oncologic outcomes. Results: HG UTUC was present in 113 (80%) patients, muscle-invasive disease (≥pT2) in 49 (35%), and non-organ-confined disease (≥pT3) in 41 (29%). At a median follow-up of 34 months, 49 (35%) patients experienced intravesical recurrence, 28 (20%) developed local/systemic recurrence, and 24 (17%) died of UTUC. HN was graded as none/mild in 77 (55%) patients and moderate/severe in 64 (45%). In patients with HG UTUC, but not LG, degree of HN was associated with advanced pathological stage (P<0.001), positive lymph nodes (P = 0.01), local/systemic recurrence-free survival (hazard ratio [HR] = 5.5, P = 0.02), and cancer-specific survival (HR = 5.2, P = 0.02). On multivariable analysis of preoperative factors, degree of HN in patients with HG UTUC was associated with muscle invasion (HR = 9.3; 95% CI: 3.08-28.32; P<0.001), non-organ-confined disease (HR = 4.5; 95% CI: 1.66-12.06; P = 0.003), local/systemic recurrence-free survival (HR = 2.5; 95% CI: 1.07-5.64; P = 0.04), and cancer-specific survival (HR = 2.6; 95% CI: 1.05-6.22; P = 0.04). Conclusions: Degree of HN can serve as a surrogate for advanced disease and predict worse oncologic outcomes in HG UTUC. Degree of HN was not predictive of intravesical or local/systemic recurrence in LG UTUC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-988
Number of pages8
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014



  • Chemotherapy
  • Hydronephrosis
  • Nephroureterectomy
  • Outcome
  • Upper tract urothelial carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology

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