Association between lymphovascular invasion and oncologic outcomes among upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma patients who underwent radical nephroureterectomy

  • Sang Hun Song
  • Chang Hee Ye
  • Sangchul Lee
  • Sung Kyu Hong
  • Seok-Soo Byun
  • Sang Eun Lee
  • Jong Jin OhEmail author
Original Article – Clinical Oncology



To determine the association between lymphovascular invasion (LVI) and upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) among patients who underwent radical nephroureterectomy (RNU).

Materials and methods

From 2003 and 2018, retrospective data of 453 patients treated for UTUC with open, laparoscopic, or robotic RNU were collected. Pathological specimens were assessed for LVI through hematoxylin and eosin staining. According to presence of LVI, patients were stratified into two groups and compared for perioperative characteristics. Kaplan–Meier analysis was used to assess progression-free (PFS), cancer-specific (CSS), and overall survival (OS). Uni- and multivariate Cox regression models were used to find significance of LVI to survival.


LVI was present in 132 (29.1%) of patients and was associated with higher age and lower preoperative GFR. Pathological outcomes included significantly higher tumor grade, higher rates of lymph node invasion and more positive surgical margins. During median 23.2 months follow-up (mean 37.1 months), 59.2% (n = 268) of total patients had tumor recurrence, with highest incidences in lymph nodes (51.5%). 5-year PFS, CSS, and OS were estimated at 35.4%, 94.6%, and 91.1% in LVI-negative patients and 17.2%, 75.1%, and 70.8% in LVI-positive patients, respectively (all p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis showed LVI to be an independent predictor of PFS (HR = 1.480; p = 0.018).


LVI is an independent predictor of adverse PFS and is associated with poor CSS and OS in patients undergoing RNU for UTUC. These results may guide clinicians in selecting patients for adjuvant chemotherapy. Future prospective trials are necessary to further validate our results.


Lymphovascular invasion Nephroureterectomy Progression-free survival Upper tract urothelial carcinoma 


Author contributions

JJO: protocol/project development. CHY, SL, SKH, S-SB, SEL: data collection or management. SHS: data analysis, manuscript writing/editing.


The present study did not receive any funding.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest related to this manuscript.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Institutional review board approval was obtained (no. SNUBH-B-1907-552-110).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of UrologySeoul National University Bundang HospitalSeongnam-siKorea
  2. 2.Department of UrologySeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulKorea

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