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Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2012 Mar;50(2):102-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bjoms.2011.05.008. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Influence of close resection margins on local recurrence and disease-specific survival in oral and oropharyngeal carcinoma.

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  • 1Department Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Glasgow Dental Hospital & School, 378 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JZ, United Kingdom.


There is a lack of consistency among published reports in the definition of what constitutes close resection margins (1-5mm) in the surgical treatment of oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Our aim was to define what would constitute close resection margins in predicting local recurrence and disease-specific survival. The study comprised 192 previously untreated patients with oral and oropharyngeal SCC who were recruited at the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, from 2001 to 2007 with a minimum follow-up of 2 years. Resection was the primary treatment and the surgical margins were recorded for all patients. Statistical analyses were aided by the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, version 15.0, and MedCalc software. The status of the surgical margins was evaluated using a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve to define the cut-off point. Cox's proportional hazard model was used to establish predictive factors for local recurrence and disease-specific survival. Of 192 patients, 23 (12%) had involved margins (<1.0mm), 107 (56%) had close margins (1.0-2.0mm (16.1%); 2.1-3.0mm (12%); 3.1-4.0mm (10.4%); 4.1-5.0mm (17.2%), and 62 (32.3%) had clear margins (>5mm). No predictive cut-off point was found that related close surgical margins to local recurrence. However, there was a significant adverse association between surgical margins ≤1.6mm and disease-specific survival. In recommending postoperative adjuvant treatment for oral and oropharyngeal SCC, we suggest that surgical margins within 2mm should be considered as the cut-off. However, other clinical and pathological prognostic factors should also be taken into consideration when recommending further treatment.

Copyright © 2011 The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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