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Histopathology. 2010 Apr;56(5):573-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.2010.03518.x.

Comparison of margin assessment by radial and shave sections in wide local excision specimens for invasive carcinoma of the breast.

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1
Department of Histopathology, Nottingham University Hospitals, Nottingham, UK.

Abstract

AIMS:

Standard margin assessment of breast carcinoma surgical specimens uses radial sections perpendicular to the margin. Shave sections assess a larger surface area of margin than radial sections. The aim was to assess the value of additional shave sections of the margin.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Both types of section were used to assess 471 wide local excision specimens for invasive carcinoma. One hundred and seventy-nine specimens had positive margins: only radial margins were involved (tumour within 5 mm of margin) in 76, only shave margins in 45, and both shave and radial margins in 58. Residual carcinoma was found in re-excision specimens (immediate or later) in 43% when the closest distance to the radial margin was 0-1 mm, 25% for 2-4 mm, 18% for 5-9 mm and 13% for >9 mm. Residual carcinoma was found in 44% of specimens if any shave section was positive and in 9% if all shaves were negative. Residual carcinoma was found in 32% if either radial or shave sections were positive and in 4% if neither was positive.

CONCLUSIONS:

The combination of radial and shave sections appears to be good at separating patients into two groups with high and low risk of residual carcinoma.

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