What Is the Cost of Maintaining a Kidney in Upper-Tract Transitional-Cell Carcinoma? An Objective Analysis of Cost and Survival

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.
Journal of endourology / Endourological Society (Impact Factor: 1.71). 04/2009; 23(3):341-6. DOI: 10.1089/end.2008.0251
Source: PubMed


For many years, the gold standard in upper urinary tract transitional-cell carcinoma (UT-TCC) management has been nephroureterectomy with excision of the bladder cuff. Advances in endourologic instrumentation have allowed urologists to manage this malignancy. The feasibility and success of conservative measures for UT-TCC have been widely published, but there has not been an objective cost analysis performed to date. Our goal was to examine the direct costs of renal-sparing conservative measures v nephroureterectomy and subsequent chronic kidney disease (CKD) or end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Secondary analysis includes a discussion of survival and quality-of-life issues for both treatment cohorts.
Retrospective review of a cohort of patients treated at our institution with renal-sparing ureteroscopic management of UT-TCC who were followed for a minimum of 2 years. The costs per case were based on equipment, anesthesia, surgeon fees, pathologic evaluation fees, and hospital stay. ESRD and CKD costs were estimated based on published reports.
From 1996 to 2006, 254 patients were evaluated and treated for UT-TCC at our institution. A cohort of 57 patients was examined who had a minimum follow-up period of 2 years. Renal preservation in our series approached 81%, with cancer-specific survival of 94.7%. Assuming a worst-case scenario of a solitary kidney with recurrences at each follow-up for 5 years v nephroureterectomy and dialysis for the same period, an estimated $252,272 U.S. dollars would be saved. This savings would cover the expenses of five cadaveric renal transplantations.
Conservative endoscopic management of UT-TCC in our experience should be the gold standard management for low-grade and superficial-stage disease. From a cost perspective, renal-sparing UT-TCC management is effective in reducing ESRD health care expenses.

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    • "This minimally invasive approach can reduce the morbidity of treatment whilst preserving renal function. With the expanding role of renal sparing technique, low grade lesions in patients with normal contralateral kidneys can also be treated ureterorenoscopicaly.[13] Recent reports suggest that endoscopic management can be an alternative treatment option for low grade superficial tumors even as a first line management.[456] "
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