Nephron-sparing management of upper tract urothelial carcinoma

Jason M. Farrow*, Sean Q. Kern, Gustavo M. Gryzinski, Chandru P. Sundaram

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Urothelial carcinoma of the upper urinary tract is uncommon and presents unique challenges for diagnosis and management. Nephroureterectomy has been the preferred management option, but it is associated with significant morbidity. Nephron-sparing treatments are a valuable alternative and provide similar efficacy in select cases. A PubMed literature review was performed in Eng-lish language publications using the following search terms: urothelial carcinoma, upper tract, nephron-sparing, intraluminal and systemic therapy. Contemporary papers published within the last 10 years were primarily included. Where encountered, systematic reviews and meta-analyses were given priority, as were randomized controlled trials for newer treatments. Core guidelines were referenced and citations reviewed for inclusion. A summary of epidemiological data, clinical diagnosis, staging, and treatments focusing on nephron-sparing approaches to upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) are outlined. Nephron-sparing management strategies are viable options to consider in patients with favorable features of UTUC. Adjunctive therapies are being investigated but the data remains mixed. Protocol variability and dosage differences limit statistical interpretation. New mechanisms to improve treatment dwell times in the upper tracts are being designed with promising preliminary results. Studies investigating systemic therapies are ongoing but implications for nephron-sparing management are uncertain. Nephron-sparing management is an ac-ceptable treatment modality best suited for favorable disease. More work is needed to determine if intraluminal and/or systemic therapies can further optimize treatment outcomes beyond resection alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-398
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative and Clinical Urology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Carcinoma, transitional cell
  • Drug therapy
  • Organ sparing treatments
  • Urinary tract


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