Comparison between 1973 and 2004/2016 World Health Organization grading in upper tract urothelial carcinoma treated with radical nephroureterectomy.

The European Association of Urology guideline for upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) relies on two grading system: 1973 World Health Organization (WHO) and 2004/2016 WHO. No consensus has been made which classification should supersede the other and both are recommended in clinical practice. We hypothesized that one may be superior to the other.

Newly diagnosed non-metastatic UTUC patients treated with radical nephroureterectomy were abstracted from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database (2010-2016). Kaplan-Meier plots and multivariable Cox regression models (CRMs) tested cancer-specific mortality (CSM), according to 1973 WHO (G1 vs. G2 vs. G3) or to 2004/2016 WHO (low-grade vs. high-grade) grading systems. Haegerty's C-index quantified accuracy.

Of 4271 patients, according to 1973 WHO grading system, 134 (3.1%) were G1, 436 (10.2%) were G2 and 3701 (86.7%) were G3; while according to 2004/2016 WHO grading system, 508 (11.9%) were low grade vs 3763 (88.1%) high grade. In multivariable CRMs, high grade predicted higher CSM (Hazard ratio: 1.70, p < 0.001). Conversely, neither G2 (p = 0.8) nor G3 (p = 0.1) were independent predictors of worse survival. The multivariable models without consideration of either grading system were 74% accurate in predicting 5-year CSM. Accuracy increased to 76% after either addition of the 1973 WHO or 2004/2016 WHO grade.

From a statistical standpoint, either 1973 WHO or 2004/2016 WHO grading system improves the accuracy of CSM prediction to the same extent. In consequence, other considerations such as intra- and interobserver variability may represent additional metrics to consider in deciding which grading system is better.

International journal of clinical oncology. 2021 Jun 06 [Epub ahead of print]

Claudia Collà Ruvolo, Christoph Würnschimmel, Mike Wenzel, Luigi Nocera, Giuseppe Celentano, Francesco Mangiapia, Zhe Tian, Shahrokh F Shariat, Fred Saad, Felix H C Chun, Alberto Briganti, Nicola Longo, Vincenzo Mirone, Pierre I Karakiewicz

Cancer Prognostics and Health Outcomes Unit, Division of Urology, University of Montréal Health Center, Montreal, QC, Canada. ., Cancer Prognostics and Health Outcomes Unit, Division of Urology, University of Montréal Health Center, Montreal, QC, Canada., Urology Unit, Department of Neurosciences, Reproductive Sciences and Odontostomatology, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy., Department of Urology, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria., Department of Urology, University Hospital Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany., Department of Urology and Division of Experimental Oncology, URI, Urological Research Institute, IBCAS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.