Objective: To assess the diagnostic accuracy of photodynamic diagnostic (PDD) ureterorenoscopy for detecting upper-urinary tract transitional cell carcinoma (UUT-TCC) in our initial 3 years, and compare the results with that of white light ureterorenoscopy (WLU). Patients and methods: Between August 2007 and March 2010, 32 patients underwent PDD flexible ureterorenoscopy for UUT-TCC. Oral 5-aminolaevulinic acid (5-ALA) was used as the photosensitiser. The sensitivity, specificity and detection rate of PDD were calculated. Results: The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of PDD for detecting abnormal tissue were 96%, 100%, 100% and 88%, compared to the results of WLU of 80%, 86%, 95% and 55%, respectively. PDD was able to detect 96% (24/25) of the abnormal tissue and 96% (21/22) of cancerous tissue, while WLU detected 80% (20/25) of abnormal tissue and 91% (20/22) of the tumour tissue. Three patients of the 32 (10%) developed side-effects related to 5-ALA; two patients developed a facial-skin photosensitive reaction and one developed hypotension. All were treated conservatively, with no long-term effects. Conclusion: PDD can be used safely in the UUT, and with a higher sensitivity, specificity and detection rate than standard WLU for detecting UUT tumours.