Introduction/Background To determine the clinical significance of micropapillary urothelial carcinoma (MPUC) of the upper urinary tract (UTUC) and a potential therapeutic strategy. Patients and Methods A retrospective cohort study was conducted to examine the incidence of micropapillary UTUC from 2010 to 2018 and its clinicopathological characteristics. Clinical outcomes and cancer-specific survival (CSS) were compared between MPUC and conventional UTUC matched by stage within a 6-month variation of receiving surgery. Results A total of 24 MPUC cases were identified out of 901 cases (2.7%) of urothelial carcinoma (UC) of the renal pelvis and ureter. MPUC was significantly smaller (<3 cm) and associated with nodal metastasis compared with conventional UTUC (P = .017 & 0.021, respectively); however, no significant difference was observed for lymphovascular invasion, distant metastasis, or CSS (P > 0.50, respectively) compared with match controls. Six MPUC patients (25%) developed metastasis to the liver, lymph nodes, and lung during follow-up. Patients with HER2-positive MPUC (3 of 4) had a significantly higher risk of metastasis compared with HER2-negative MPUC (3 of 20; P = 0.035). Conclusions MPUC is an aggressive variant of UTUC and usually presents as a small locally advanced disease. HER2 immunohistochemistry may identify the subset of patients with micropapillary UTUC that are candidates for targeted therapy.
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