Renal Pelvis and Ureters

The renal pelvis and ureter are part of the urinary system and make up the upper urinary tract. The renal pelvis is a hollow part in the middle of each kidney. The ureters are thin tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. Each ureter is about 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches) long.

Urine (pee) is your body’s liquid waste and is made by the kidneys. It collects in the renal pelvis then travels along the ureters to the bladder where it is stored. When the bladder is full of urine, it passes out of the body through the urethra.

Cancer of the Renal Pelvis and Ureter
Cancer of the renal pelvis or ureter starts in the cells of the renal pelvis (a hollow part of each kidney ) or ureter (a tube that connects each kidney to the bladder ). A cancerous (malignant) tumour is a group of cancer cells that can grow into nearby tissue and destroy it. The tumour can also spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

Cells in the renal pelvis or ureter sometimes change and no longer grow or behave normally. In some cases, changes to these cells can cause cancer. Most often, cancer starts in urothelial cells that line the inside of the renal pelvis or ureter.

This type of cancer is called urothelial carcinoma (also called transitional cell carcinoma). It makes up about 90% of all upper urinary tract tumours. Urothelial carcinoma starts in the renal pelvis more often than the ureter, but it can also be found in both places at the same time.

  • Transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the renal pelvis and ureter.
  • A personal history of bladder cancer and smoking can affect the risk of transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter.
  • Signs and symptoms of transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter include blood in the urine and back pain.
  • Tests that examine the abdomen and kidneys are used to diagnose transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter.
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.


  • Benign
    • Papilloma
  • Malignant
    • Urothelial Carcinoma


  • Blood in urine
  • Clotted blood in the urine
  • Back pain


  • Urine Cytology
  • CT Urogram
  • Tissue diagnosis by endoscopy(URS) or percutaneous


  • Low-risk UTUC: Organ preserving surgery.
  • High-risk UTUC: Radical nephroureterectomy with bladder caff (open/lap) with LND.