Objective To report the results of platinumbased chemotherapy used at one medical center in patients with advanced transitional cell carcinomas (TCCs) of the upper urinary tract. Material and Methods Between July 1981 and February 1993, 28 patients (mean age, 59.3 years) with advanced TCC of the upper urinary tract received cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Of the 28 patients, 14 received a median of 4 cycles of cisplatin, methotrexate, and vinblastine sulfate, 8 received a median of 4.5 cycles of methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin hydrochloride, and cisplatin, 5 received a median of 5 cycles of etoposide and cisplatin, and 1 was treated with 7 cycles of only cisplatin. Overall survival estimates were constructed from nonparametric analysis with the Kaplan-Meier method. Results The overall response rate (partial and complete) to chemotherapy was 54%. The most responsive metastatic sites were the lung and lymph nodes—78 and 47% overall response rate, respectively. The estimated median duration of survival for the entire study group was 14 months. In the study population, only three patients were long-term survivors. A significant survival advantage was noted only in the few patients (with limited metastatic tumor volume) who had a complete response to therapy. Initial dose reductions in chemotherapy because of decreased baseline renal function were necessary in 79% of the patients. Conclusion Removal of the primary lesion in the presence of metastatic or locally advanced disease does not apparently improve chemotherapy response rates or patient survival. In addition, many patients do not receive optimal dosing of systemic chemotherapy after nephrectomy. Therefore, by avoiding dose modifications, the overall response rates and survival may conceivably be improved. A diagnostic biopsy or nephron-sparing surgical procedure and neoadjuvant systemic therapy may be considered in patients with advanced TCC at the time of initial assessment in order to allow optimal dosing of chemotherapy.