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To determine whether conservative lateral surgical margins (equal to tumor diameter for tumors < 2 cm in diameter or 2 cm for larger tumors) were noninferior to wide (3-cm) lateral surgical margins for achieving tumor-free histologic margins following excision of grade I and II cutaneous mast cell tumors (MCTs) in dogs.


83 grade I and II MCTs excised with a deep surgical fascial margin and requisite lateral surgical margins from 68 dogs from 2007 to 2017. Tumors representing scar revision or local recurrence were excluded.


A pathology department database was searched to identify qualifying MCTs, and medical records were cross-referenced to obtain data regarding patients and tumors. Outcome (complete vs incomplete excision as histologically determined) was compared between conservative- and wide-margin groups. A noninferiority margin of ≥ 0.9 was used for the risk ratio (probability of complete excision for the conservative- vs wide-margin group), implying that noninferiority would be established if the data indicated that the true risk of complete excision with the conservative-margin approach was at worst 90% of that for the wide-margin approach.


The proportion of excised MCTs with tumor-free histologic margins was similar between the conservative- (43/46 [93%]) and wide- (34/37 [92%]) margin groups. There were no differences in tumor diameter or location between treatment groups. The risk ratio (1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.89 to 1.19) met the criterion for noninferiority.


The conservative-margin approach appeared to be noninferior to the wide-margin approach for achieving tumor-free histologic margins in the dogs of this study, and its use could potentially reduce the risk of postoperative complications. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2020;256:567-572

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association