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Prostate Cancer
Volume 2011, Article ID 673021, 12 pages
Review Article

Frequency of Positive Surgical Margin at Prostatectomy and Its Effect on Patient Outcome

Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO 80045, USA

Received 9 March 2011; Accepted 27 March 2011

Academic Editor: R. Montironi

Copyright © 2011 Kenneth A. Iczkowski and M. Scott Lucia. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A positive surgical margin at prostatectomy is defined as tumor cells touching the inked edge of the specimen. This finding is reported in 8.8% to 42% of cases (median about 20%) in various studies. It is one of the main determinants of eventual biochemical (PSA) failure, generally associated with a doubled or tripled risk of failure. The effect of a positive margin on outcome can be modified by stage or grade and the length, number and location of positive margins, as well as by technical operative approach and duration of operator experience. This paper tabulates data from the past decade of studies on margin status.