Treatment Patterns, Outcomes, and Costs Associated With Localized Upper Tract Urothelial Carcinoma

Katherine E. Fero, Yong Shan, Patrick M. Lec, Vidit Sharma, Aditya Srinivasan, Giri Movva, Jacques Baillargeon, Karim Chamie, Stephen B. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) is a heterogeneous disease that presents a clinical management challenge for the urologic surgeon. We assessed treatment patterns, costs, and survival outcomes among patients with nonmetastatic UTUC. Methods: We identified 4114 patients diagnosed with nonmetastatic UTUC from 2004 to 2013 in the Survival Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare population-based database. Patients were stratified into low- or high-risk disease groups. Median total costs from 30 days prior to diagnosis through 365 days after diagnosis were compared between groups. Overall and cancer-specific survival were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards regression. All statistical tests were 2-sided. Results: After risk stratification, 1027 (24.9%) and 3087 (75.0%) patients were classified into low- vs high-risk UTUC groups. Most patients underwent at least 1 surgical intervention (95.1%); 68.4% underwent at least 1 endoscopic intervention. Patients diagnosed with high- vs low-risk UTUC were more likely to undergo nephroureterectomy (83.6% vs 72.0%; P < .001); few patients with low-risk disease were exclusively managed endoscopically (16.9%). At 365 days after diagnosis, costs of care for high- vs low-risk UTUC were statistically significantly higher ($108 520 vs $91 233; median difference $16 704, 95% confidence interval [CI] ¼ $11 619 to $21 778; P < .001). Those with high-risk UTUC had worse cancer-specific and overall survival compared with patients with low-risk UTUC (cancer-specific survival hazard ratio [HR] ¼ 4.14, 95% CI ¼ 3.19 to 5.37; overall survival HR ¼ 1.78, 95% CI ¼ 1.62 to 1.96). Conclusions: UTUC continues to be managed primarily with nephroureterectomy, regardless of risk stratification, and patients with high-risk UTUC have worse overall and cancer-specific survival. Substantial costs are associated with management of low- and high-risk UTUC, with the latter being more costly up to 1 year from diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberpkab085
JournalJNCI Cancer Spectrum
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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