Highlights from the first symposium on upper tract urothelial carcinoma

Surena F. Matin, Shahrokh F. Shariat, Matthew I. Milowsky, Donna E. Hansel, Wassim Kassouf, Theresa Koppie, Dean Bajorin, Arthur P. Grollman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives: Upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) is a rare disease in Western countries and garners little focused attention in urologic and oncologic circles. We report highlights from the first symposium on UTUC. Methods: All participants were asked to provide a summary of their presentation to be included as part of these proceedings. Submitted summaries were synthesized into this document. All contributors reviewed and provided input on the final draft. Results: Five highlights are included in this report, including landmark research that not only reveals the likely cause of Balkan endemic nephropathy and associated UTUC but also links it directly to UTUC in Taiwan. Because of the ubiquitous use of Aristolochia plants in these herbal remedies, a public health problem of considerable magnitude is anticipated in Asian countries. Gene expression signatures reveal some differential expression in bladder carcinoma, such as CLCA2 and GABRE. Few urinary markers have proven utility for the diagnosis and follow-up of UTUC, and no tissue or blood-based markers are currently undergoing clinical application. Novel endoscopic therapies provide some hope of improving tissue sampling, diagnosis, and kidney-sparing therapeutics, but the greatest potential lies in improving clinical (preoperative) risk stratification, which is critically limited in this disease. Biomarkers, currently untested, hold promise in identifying patients most likely to benefit from perioperative chemotherapy and at high risk from cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. Conclusions: Despite its rarity in the West, UTUC is reaching potentially epidemic proportions in the East because of exposure to carcinogenic herbal remedies. Critical trials are needed to improve our understanding and treatment of UTUC. Because of the broad range of comorbid conditions in patients suffering from this disease, it is the consensus of the participants that future clinical trials should be practical in design and applicable to a broad range of patients, diverging from the current dogma of narrow patient selection criteria in clinical trials. Practical designs would maximize accrual for a still uncommon disease, and their findings would be applicable to a larger proportion of patients than current narrowly selected designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-316
Number of pages8
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarkers
  • Carcinogens
  • Epidemiology
  • Renal pelvis cancer
  • Ureteral cancer
  • Urothelial carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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