Objectives: Open nephroureterectomy (ONU) is the current standard for muscle-invasive upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) in the European Association of Urology/Japanese Urological Association (JUA) guidelines. In this study, we compared the postsurgical survival of muscle-invasive UTUC patients treated with ONU or with laparoscopic nephroureterectomy (LNU), using the multi-institutional national database of the JUA. Methods: The 1509 patients with UTUC who were diagnosed at 348 Japanese institutions in 2005 were registered. We collected the clinical data of the patients in 2011. The muscle-invasive UTUC patients who underwent ONU or LNU were identified, and survival curves were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Results: Overall, 749 pT2≥cNxM0 patients underwent a nephroureterectomy (ONU, n = 527 and LNU, n = 222). The overall survival and cause-specific survival rates were not significantly different between the ONU and LNU groups (p = 0.1263 and p = 0.0893, respectively). In addition, 459 of the 749 (61.3%) patients experienced disease recurrence (bladder recurrence, local recurrence, or distant metastasis), with no significant difference between the ONU and LNU groups. Even when patients were stratified by pT3/pT4 and/or pN+, overall survival was not significantly different between the ONU and LNU groups (p = 0.2876). The results of a univariate analysis showed that lymphovascular invasion was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival, but the surgical approaches were not found to be associated with overall survival. Conclusions: Our data suggest that there is no evidence that the oncologic outcome of LNU is inferior to that of ONU in muscle-invasive UTUC, when the appropriate patients are selected.
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