Objectives: Some studies have shown that in patients with upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) who have undergone hand-assisted laparoscopic nephroureterectomy (HALNU), the narrow working space and inevitable manipulation that occurs during the retroperitoneal approach (RP-HALNU) enhances tumor cell seeding in the bladder mucosa. This study was an attempt to investigate the differences in intravesical recurrence between transperitoneal HALNU (TP-HALNU) and RP-HALNU. Methods: From 1999 to 2011, a total of 197 patients with UTUC were enrolled. After excluding those with a previous history of bladder cancer, 170 patients were analyzed. 65 of these underwent RP-HALNU, and 105 of these underwent TP-HALNU. The median follow-up periods were 39.2 and 46.2 months. Tumor location was divided into three groups: in the renal pelvis, in the ureter, and in both the renal pelvis and ureter. Results: There was no significant difference in the intravesical recurrence rate in relation to the different surgical approaches (p = 0.10), but tumor location in both the renal pelvis and ureter significantly increased the risk (Hazard ratio [HR] = 3.11, p = 0.01). In addition, advanced T stage (HR = 9.63, p < 0.01) was the only significant risk factor related to death. Conclusions: In patients with UTUC, tumor location in both the renal pelvis and ureter determined higher susceptibility to intravesical recurrence. However, different surgical approaches to HALNU were not a significant risk factor for intravesical recurrence.
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