Background: Performance of urinary cytology is recommended as the part of a standard diagnostic workup and base surveillance regimens in upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC). However, the effect of positive voided urine cytology (VUC) on UTUC prognosis, compared with negative VUC, has not been fully demonstrated. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of preoperative VUC on predicting intravesical recurrence, disease recurrence, and mortality in patients with UTUC who underwent nephroureterectomy (RNU).
Methods: Clinicopathological information was collected from 315 UTUC patients treated with RNU. The association between VUC and oncological outcomes was analyzed using the Kaplan–Meier method with log-rank test and Cox proportional hazards regression models. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the influence of VUC on tumor grade.
Results: Preoperative positive VUC, presenting in 101 patients (32.1%), was significantly associated with tumor multifocality (P=0.02) and higher tumor grade (P=0.01). On multivariate Cox regression analyses, preoperative positive VUC was an independent prognostic factor of intravesical recurrence-free survival (RFS) (hazard ratio [HR]=2.21, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06–4.64; P=0.03), RFS (HR=1.80, 95% CI 1.08–2.99; P=0.02), and cancer-specific survival (CSS) (HR=1.87, 95% CI 1.10–3.18; P=0.02), but not overall survival (HR=1.32, 95% CI 0.80–2.18; P=0.28). Logistic regression analysis revealed that VUC was related to high tumor grade in UTUC (odds ratio=2.23, 95%CI 1.15–4.52).
Conclusion: Preoperative positive VUC significantly increases the risk of intravesical recurrence in UTUC patients undergoing RNU. In addition, positive VUC is an adverse predictor of RFS and CSS, which might be due to the association between positive VUC and high tumor grade.