Regional lymphadenectomy for urothelial carcinoma of the upper urinary tract is sometimes avoided in older patients to reduce surgical burden. We aimed to evaluate the therapeutic impact of lymphadenectomy in older patients undergoing curative therapy for upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma.
The patients with urothelial carcinoma of the upper urinary tract older than 75 years at the time of surgery and without lymph node or distant metastasis who underwent curative therapy at two tertiary hospitals between 1994 and 2019 were retrospectively analyzed. Complete-lymphadenectomy was performed as per our protocol. Cancer-specific survival, overall survival and metastasis-free survival after surgery were evaluated between complete-lymphadenectomy and no/incomplete-lymphadenectomy groups before and after 1:1 propensity score matching.
The original cohort included 150 patients (median age, 80.71 years), and complete-lymphadenectomy was performed in 42 (28.00%) patients. Patients in complete-lymphadenectomy group were younger and less likely to be aged >80 years (both, P < 0.0001). After matching, 30 patients were allocated to each group and the ages were comparable (78.58 vs. 77.48 years, P = 0.1738). High-grade perioperative complication rates did not differ between groups both before and after matching. Cancer-specific survival, overall survival and metastasis-free survival were significantly longer in the complete-lymphadenectomy group both before and after matching (all, P < 0.05).
This study suggests that complete-lymphadenectomy may provide therapeutic benefits for older patients. The decision to perform complete-lymphadenectomy must be based on the patient’s physical condition, rather than his/her chronological age.

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