What is the prognosis of renal transitional cell carcinoma?

Updated: Nov 05, 2019
  • Author: Bagi RP Jana, MD, MBA, MHA, FACP; Chief Editor: E Jason Abel, MD  more...
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Renal UC is uniformly fatal unless it is treated. In a multicenter study of 1363 patients with upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma who were treated with radical nephroureterectomy, the 5-year cancer-specific survival probability was approximately 73%. [6]

Tumor stage is the most important prognostic factor for upper urinary tract UC. Survival correlates closely with tumor stage. The TNM staging system developed by the International Union Against cancer (UICC) for upper urinary tract carcinomas is the most comprehensive (see Staging).

Tumor grade is another predictor of prognosis (see Histologic Findings). Tumor grade usually follows tumor stage, and patients with high-grade carcinomas have more advanced (ie, high-stage) disease. Stage and grade correlate in as many as 83% of cases, though stage remains a more accurate predictor of prognosis.

Patients with stage T3 renal tumors have a better prognosis than those with ureteral tumors. A retrospective study by Park et al found that in patients with stage pT3 disease, 5-year cancer-specific survival rates were 77.5% for renal pelvic tumors invading the renal parenchyma versus 49.7% for tumors invading peripelvic or periureteral fat; 5-year recurrence-free survival rates for the 2 tumor types were 75.6% and 32.0%, respectively. [7] The authors suggested that the thickness of the renal parenchyma may protect against local tumor spread.

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