Do close but negative margins in radical prostatectomy specimens increase the risk of postoperative progression?

Jonathan I. Epstein, Jurga Sauvageot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: When tumor extends close to the margin of resection yet does not extend to the inked edge of the gland, it is unclear whether patients have an adverse prognosis compared to cases with greater distance between the tumor and margin. Materials and Methods: Among radical prostatectomy specimens with negative margins the distance between the most peripheral tumor and the surgical margin of resection was measured in 52 cases with and 49 without progression. All patients had clinically confined disease (stages T1 or T2) with subsequent progression or a minimum 5-year followup without evidence of disease. No patient received preoperative or postoperative radiotherapy or hormonal therapy until progression occurred. All men underwent a postoperative serum prostate specific antigen test to evaluate progression. Seminal vesicles and lymph nodes were pathologically free of tumor. All prostates were serially sectioned, completely embedded and assessable regarding margins of resection. Results: Patients with progression were no more likely to have tumor close to the margin than those without progression. In a regression analysis analyzing the effect of Gleason score, distance between tumor and margin, location of closest margin and pathological stage as related to progression, only grade was predictive of progression (p <0.00001). Conclusions: It is not necessary for pathologists to designate these margins as close, since biologically this finding has no significance. Furthermore, physicians who are involved in treatment of patients after radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer should not alter therapy depending on whether margins are reported as close.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-243
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • neoplasm metastasis
  • prostatectomy
  • prostatic neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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