Prognostic implications of surgical margins in carcinoma of the oral cavity

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Gisella Candelino
Victoria Santa María
Laura Leguina
Cristian Marteletti
Jorge González Calderón
Alejandro Rubino
Osvaldo González Aguilar


Background: Based on the literature reviewed and the results of overall and disease-free survival with different surgical margins, we hypothesized that margins < 5mm are sufficient to achieve and overall survival rate and are comparable to those obtained with larger margins.
Objective: The primary outcome of the present study was to evaluate overall survival and specific survival at 3 and 5 years of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity according to the surgical margins obtained.
Material and methods: Between January 2010 and December 2017, 81 patients underwent surgery; 57.1% were men and mean age was 60.49 years.
Results: At multivariate analysis, tumor differentiation (p = 0.033), extracapsular lymph node invasion (p = 0.001) and perineural invasion (p = 0.000) were identified as significant predictors of overall survival and disease-free survival. There were no differences in disease-free survival in the different groups evaluated based on the surgical margins. Yet, postoperative radiotherapy may actually obscure the importance of margins since most patients with close margins underwent postoperative radiotherapy.
Conclusions: The variables analyzed in this paper are consistent with the literature in that only histo- logical characteristics are prognostic factors. Although there are many studies analyzing the surgical margins in squamous carcinoma of the oral cavity, there is still no consensus regarding the prognostic value of close margins (1-5 mm).


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Candelino, G., Santa María, V., Leguina, L., Marteletti, C., González Calderón, J., Rubino, A., & González Aguilar, O. (2021). Prognostic implications of surgical margins in carcinoma of the oral cavity. Revista Argentina De Cirugía, 111(3), 129–141. Retrieved from
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