This study aimed to clarify the clinical characteristics and oncological outcomes of patients with upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) who developed muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) after radical nephroureterectomy (RNU). We identified 966 pTa-4N0-2M0 patients with UTUC who underwent RNU and clarified the risk factors for MIBC progression after initial intravesical recurrence (IVR). We also identified 318 patients with primary pT2-4N0-2M0 MIBC to compare the oncological outcomes with those of patients with UTUC who developed or progressed to MIBC. Furthermore, immunohistochemical examination of p53 and FGFR3 expression in tumor specimens was performed to compare UTUC of MIBC origin with primary MIBC. In total, 392 (40.6%) patients developed IVR after RNU and 46 (4.8%) developed MIBC at initial IVR or thereafter. As a result, pT1 stage on the initial IVR specimen, concomitant carcinoma in situ on the initial IVR specimen, and no intravesical adjuvant therapy after IVR were independent factors for MIBC progression. After propensity score matching adjustment, primary UTUC was a favorable indicator for cancer-specific death compared with primary MIBC. Subgroup molecular analysis revealed high FGFR3 expression in non-MIBC and MIBC specimens from primary UTUC, whereas low FGFR3 but high p53 expression was observed in specimens from primary MIBC tissue. In conclusion, our study demonstrated that patients with UTUC who develop MIBC recurrence after RNU exhibited the clinical characteristics of subsequent IVR more than those of primary UTUC. Of note, MIBC subsequent to UTUC may have favorable outcomes, probably due to the different molecular biological background compared with primary MIBC.
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