Background: A large, multi-institutional, tertiary care center study suggested no benefit from bladder cuff excision (BCE) at nephroureterectomy in patients with upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UC). Objective: We tested and quantified the prognostic impact of BCE at nephroureterectomy on cancer-specific mortality (CSM) in a large population-based cohort of patients with UC of the renal pelvis. Design, Setting, And Participants: A cohort of 4210 patients with UC of the renal pelvis were treated with nephroureterectomy with (NUC) or without (NU) a BCE between 1988 and 2006 within 17 Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registries. Measurements: Cumulative incidence plots and competing risks regression models compared CSM after either NUC or NU. Covariates consisted of pathologic T and N stages, grade, age, year of surgery, gender, and race. Results and Limitations: Respectively, 2492 (59.2%) and 1718 (40.8%) patients underwent a nephroureterectomy with or without BCE. In univariable and multivariable analyses, BCE omission increased CSM rates in patients with pT3N0/x, pT4N0/x, and pT(any)N1-3 UC of the renal pelvis. For example, in patients with pT3N0/x disease, holding all other variables constant, BCE omission increased CSM in a 1.25-fold fashion (p=0.04). Similarly, in patients with pT4N0/x disease, BCE omission resulted in a 1.45-fold increase (p=0.02). The main limitation of our study is the lack of data on disease recurrence. Conclusions: Nephroureterectomy with BCE remains the standard of care in the treatment of UC of the renal pelvis and should invariably be performed in patients with locally advanced disease. Conversely, patients with pT1 and pT2 disease could be considered for NU without compromising CSM. However, recurrence data are needed to fully confirm the validity of this option.
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