Ureteral carcinoma is a type of malignancy involving the ureter. The condition is rare, and the vast majority of tumors are transitional cell carcinomas (TCC) of the ureter, classified under the wider category of urothelial tumors of the ureter.
Ureteral carcinoma is a tumor that may be located in any part of the ureter. This malignancy is commonly referred to as urothelial tumor of the renal pelvis and ureter; the greatest majority of the neoplasms are of urothelial nature and isolated ureteral cancer is a rare medical occurrence with few pertaining literary documentations .
The predominant manifesting symptom of a primary ureteral carcinoma is gross hematuria, often with no other accompanying symptoms, either specific to a urinary tract pathology or constitutional . The second most frequently reported complaint is a flank pain, observed in 1 in 5 patients diagnosed with a ureteral carcinoma . Flank pain can be initially misdiagnosed as originating from an episode of renal colic due to ureterolithiasis, and in a case of ureteral carcinoma, the painful feeling is attributed to blood clots forming in the area. An equal percentage of patients also present with a palpable lumbar mass and less than 10% report dysuric symptoms, such as pain or burning upon urination and an increased frequency to urinate. Generalized manifestations such as weight loss and skeletal pain are rarely documented and are a sign of progressed malignant disease.
A ureteral carcinoma can also occur as a metastatic tumor, in which case most patients report no symptomatology and are diagnosed incidentally  . The minority of patients who experience cancer-related symptomatology present with dysuric symptoms consistent with a renal colic due to obstruction (flank pain) or a urinary tract infection. Hematuria is also a symptom of a metastatic ureteral carcinoma and, in the uncommon case where the ureters are bilaterally affected, patients may present with anuria  .
The complete workup involved in diagnosing a ureteral carcinoma consists of blood laboratory testing, imaging modalities and histopathologic assessment of the lesion.
Laboratory testing aims at the evaluation of the general patient status as well as kidney function. A complete blood count and biochemical profile are performed, alongside prothrombin time, international normalized ratio and activated partial thromboplastin time tests, in order to eliminate potential abnormalities in the coagulation process. Urinalysis is a basic initial test since it allows for the confirmation of hematuria and helps to rule out a simple urinary tract infection that could account for the same symptoms elicited by a ureteral carcinoma. As far as imaging is concerned, excretory urography has been presently replaced to a large extent by computerized tomography (CT). A CT urogram that focuses extensively on the excretory stage of urination can illustrate tumors of the ureters, primarily those that are larger than 5 mm in size. CT scans also aid in determining the extent to which a malignancy has spread peripelvically or periureterally, although it contributes very little to the staging process of a transitional cell carcinoma.
Cytology evinces a satisfactory accuracy rate in diagnosing high-grade ureteral carcinomas and more aggressive disease, whereas, in the case of low-grade malignant lesions, the analysis renders cancer-negative results in most of the samples . Low-grade neoplastic lesions are better detected with the use of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)  . Ureteroscopy is usually also employed in order to directly visualize a ureteral carcinoma .