Clinical significance of the positive surgical margin based upon location, grade, and stage Academic Article uri icon


  • Prostate cancer remains a challenge due to its incidence and radical prostatectomy continues to be a major treatment option for men with potentially curable disease who have a life expectancy over a decade. This article will address the common problem of positive surgical margins and the impact of them on patient outcome. Through these we can examine relevant clinical trials that have attempted to address this issue and offer some guided to therapy among men with this clinical problem. Close margins are probably of no significance and will not be addressed. Our recommendations take into account the current level of medical evidence, and are balanced with anticipated adverse effects of treatment. They may change over time once definitive clinical trials are completed. In brief we believe those with positive margins and PT2 we advocate close observation with the aim of early salvage radiotherapy if necessary. Those with PT3a and focally positive margins with low/intermediate grade tumors are at moderate risk of biochemical failure so should be managed like PT2 patients. However those with high-grade disease should be offered adjuvant radiotherapy. Similarly those with PT3a margin positive extensive or multiple site disease should have adjuvant radiotherapy. PT3B margin positive patients should be offered radiotherapy. PT4 with bladder neck only margin positive can probably be observed.

publication date

  • March 2010