Routine use of cavity shave margins will not affect survival but will improve local control, reduce patient distress levels, and entail one surgery instead of two.
—George Somlo, MD, FACP
This is a significant study. About 30% of patients who undergo breast-conserving surgery or partial mastectomy are likely to have positive margins. Optimal treatment is to remove the entire tumor surgically and then follow with radiation. Standard practice requires reexcision for positive margins,” explained George Somlo, MD, FACP, Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology at City of Hope, Duarte, California.
“Based on their experience, breast cancer surgeons sometimes shave extra tissue in the hope of achieving negative margins,” Dr. Somlo continued.
“If you are a patient, cavity shave margins can save you distress. Routine use of cavity shave margins will not affect survival but will improve local control, reduce patient distress levels, and entail one surgery instead of two. Also, this would improve quality of life and has potential to reduce cost,” Dr. Somlo said.
“The findings need to be validated. Surgeons will want evidence along the same lines as we had with sentinel node biopsy, which has the potential to spare patients further surgery and complications,” Dr. Somlo concluded. ■
Disclosure: Dr. Somlo reported no potential conflicts of interest.
Taking additional tissue circumferentially around the cavity left by partial mastectomy (“cavity shave margins”) cut the rate of positive margins by nearly 50% and the rate of reexcision for margin clearance by more than 50% compared with standard partial mastectomy with or without the surgeon...