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Micropapillary Urothelial Carcinoma of the Upper Urinary Tract
Clinicopathologic Study of Five Cases

Delia Perez-Montiel MD, Ondrej Hes MD, Michal Michal MD, Saul Suster MD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/K7MELVFPKQE2RCDL 86-92 First published online: 1 July 2006


We report 5 cases of micropapillary urothelial carcinoma (MPUC) involving the renal pelvis (2), renal pelvis and ureter (2), and proximal ureter (1). The patients were 2 women and 3 men, ages 65 to 92 years (mean, 76.0 years). All tumors showed a high-grade transitional cell carcinoma component, and in 3 cases, there also were areas of in situ carcinoma. The case involving only the ureter occurred in a 65-year-old man with a history of nephrectomy 12 years previously for urothelial carcinoma of the renal pelvis. The tumor recurred in the ureteral stump. In all cases, areas displaying micropapillary architecture were observed. In 2 cases the micropapillary areas were noninvasive; in 1 case a pure invasive pattern was seen; and in 2 cases a mixed invasive and noninvasive pattern was present. All patients died of their tumors from 3 to 24 months after initial diagnosis. MPUC involving the renal pelvis and ureter is associated closely with advanced stages of disease and has highly aggressive behavior. Recognition of this growth pattern is important for prognosis and avoiding misdiagnosis with papillary renal cell carcinoma and other tumors.

Key Words:
  • Micropapillary carcinoma
  • Urogenital tract
  • Urothelial carcinoma