A population-based study of tumours of the renal pelvis and ureter: Incidence, aetiology and histopathological findings

Sten Holmäng, Erik Holmberg, Sonny L. Johansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective. Carcinoma of the renal pelvis and ureter are unusual tumours and our limited knowledge comes mainly from case reports and small series from large academic hospitals, as a rule without histopathological review. This study reports aetiological and demographical factors as well as clinicopathological findings of all patients in a large geographical region. Material and methods. All patients in western Sweden with a renal pelvic or ureteral tumour diagnosed between 1971 and 1998 (n = 930) were included. Untreated cases were not excluded. Demographic data and results of preoperative examinations were retrieved from the original clinical records. The histopathological slides were reviewed and tumour stage, grade, configuration, presence of carcinoma in situ and angiolymphatic invasion were determined Results. The majority of patients (80%) had invasive or high-grade tumours. Carcinoma in situ was present among 30% of patients with non-invasive high-grade tumours. Angiolymphatic invasion (62%) and solid (non-papillary) growth pattern (84%) were very common among patients with stage T2-T4 tumours. Twenty-three women out of 138 (16.7%) with ureteral carcinoma had a history of abdominal radiotherapy for gynaecological cancer 22 years (median) earlier. Forty-one patients out of 930 (4.4%) had a history of abuse of phenacetin-containing analgesics. Conclusions. This study demonstrates a very high incidence of high-grade upper tract tumours with carcinoma in situ, angiolymphatic invasion and solid (non-papillary) growth pattern, which underscores the malignant character of the disease. The possible association between pelvic radiotherapy and ureteral carcinoma warrants further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-496
Number of pages6
JournalScandinavian Journal of Urology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Aetiology
  • Diagnosis
  • Incidence
  • Renal pelvic cancer
  • Ureteral cancer
  • Urothelial cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Urology


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