Palliative management of malignant upper urinary tract obstruction

Malignancies of the genitourinary tract are diagnosed with increased frequency compared to the past. Currently prostate and bladder cancer account for the majority of urological malignancies.

While for prostate cancer recent developments in the management of local and metastatic disease are likely to lead the majority of patients to either cure from the disease or to longer survival time, for bladder cancer advanced disease will unfortunately lead to death within months. However, the common clinical scenario in both prostate and bladder cancer includes, in high incidence, upper urinary tract obstruction in the advanced stages of these malignancies.

This coupled with the fact that average life expectancy in the western world is increasing, will result in a significant patient population with either advanced, non-curable disease or with problems related to the received therapeutic surgical or medical interventions. There is no doubt that in both circumstances the room and role of palliation therapy is increasing.

The care of patients with advanced urologic malignancies requires a multi-disciplinary effort from physicians of many specialties under the guiding role of the treating urologist. This review focuses on currently available palliative therapeutic options for upper urinary tract obstruction in the setting of patients with advanced malignancies of the urinary tract, as recently significant advancements have been witnessed in this field.

Hippokratia. 2014 Oct-Dec;18(4):292-7.

Sountoulides P1, Mykoniatis I1, Dimasis N2.

1 Urology Department, General Hospital of Veria, Greece.
2 Urology Department, "Theagenio" Anticancer Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece.