Background and Purpose: Accurate assessment of upper-tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) pathology may guide use of endoscopic vs extirpative therapy. We present a multi-institutional cohort of patients with UTUC who underwent surgical resection to characterize the association of ureteroscopic (URS) biopsy features with final pathology results. Patients and Methods: URS biopsy data were available in 238 patients who underwent surgical resection of UTUC. Biopsies were performed using a brush biopsy kit, mechanical biopsy device, or basket. Stage was classified as a positive brush, nonmuscle-invasive (<pT 2), or muscle invasive (MI; ≥pT 2). Grade was classified as low or high. Results: On URS biopsy, 88/238 (37%) patients had a positive brush, 140 (59%) had a diagnosis of non-MI, and 10 (4%) had MI disease. Biopsy results showed low-grade cancer in 140 (59%) and high-grade cancer in 98 (41%). Pathologic evaluation at surgical resection demonstrated non-MI tumors in 140 (59%) patients, MI in 98 (41%), and high-grade disease in 150 (63%). On univariate analysis, high URS biopsy grade was associated with high-grade (positive predictive value [PPV] 92%, P<0.0001) and MI (PPV 60%, P<0.0001) UTUC at surgery. URS biopsy stage, however, was associated with surgical pathology grade (P=0.005), but not MI (P=0.16) disease. On multivariate analysis, high URS grade, but not biopsy stage, was associated with high final pathology grade (hazard ratio [HR] 16.6, 95% confidence interval [CI] 7.0-39.5, P<0.0001) and MI UTUC (HR 3.6, 95% CI 2.1-6.8, P<0.0001). Conclusion: High URS biopsy grade, but not stage, is associated with adverse tumor pathology. This information may play a valuable role for risk stratification and in the appropriate selection of endoscopic management vs surgical extirpation for UTUC.
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