Background and Purpose: The presence of urothelial carcinoma in situ (CIS) at the distal ureteral margin has been identified as a risk factor for upper tract recurrence after radical cystectomy. Management of this finding is controversial. The objective of this study was to determine if follow-up with ureteroscopy could aid in early detection of recurrences in these patients. Patients and Methods: We collected prospective clinical-pathologic data for all patients who underwent radical cystectomy between 1999 and 2004. Patients with CIS at the distal ureteral margin were followed with endoscopy of the urinary diversion and bilateral ureteroscopy in addition to standard imaging and cytologic evaluation every 6 months. Recurrence was defined as detection of any malignant urothelial cells. Results: In 250 consecutive cystectomies, eight patients were identified with CIS that involved a ureteral margin of 12 renal units. Ureteroscopy was successful in all cases, and there were no complications. Imaging was diagnostic in one patient, all cytologic examinations from the diversion were nondiagnostic, and ureteroscopy was positive in all recurrences. Six patients had recurrences at a median follow-up of 52.7 months; five needed laparoscopic nephroureterectomy, and one had disease controlled with percutaneous mitomycin C. Five patients were disease free at last follow-up, and one patient died with brain metastasis at 30 months. Conclusions: Patients with CIS that involves the ureteral margin are at increased risk for upper tract recurrence and progression. Aggressive follow-up with scheduled ureteroscopy may identify recurrences at an earlier stage. Development of additional markers for risk stratification and protocols for adjuvant treatment are needed.
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