Endoscopic diagnosis and treatment of upper‐tract urothelial tumors. A preliminary report
The technique of transurethral ureteropyeloscopy allows many standard cystoscopic procedures to be extended into the upper urinary tract. This endoscopic method was used to evaluate 31 patients suspected to have urothelial malignancies of the ureter or renal pelvis. Twenty-eight of the patients had the procedure successfully completed (90%), 11 of whom were found to have urothelial tumors. Diagnostic ureteroscopic biopsy in three of these patients revealed high-grade, multifocal tumors and was followed by nephroureterectomy (two patients) or partial ureterectomy (one patient). However, in eight patients, ureteroscopy and biopsy revealed apparently localized, low-grade tumors which were treated by ureteroscopic fulguration or resection. The latter patients have undergone endoscopic surveillance every 3 months (average follow-up, 21 months). The technique of ureteropyeloscopy permits endoscopic access into the ureter and renal pelvis, enabling tissue diagnosis and better preoperative cancer staging without surgical exploration. Although follow-up is short, selected patients with low-grade tumors may be treated primarily by endoscopic means.