Objective—To assess the usefulness of histologic evaluation of surgical margins to predict local recurrence of cutaneous malignant tumors in dogs and cats treated by means of surgical excision.
Design—Prospective case series.
Animals—40 dogs and 20 cats.
Procedures—60 surgically excised tumors (20 soft tissue sarcomas [STSs], 20 mast cell tumors [MCTs], and 20 carcinomas) were examined histologically. Margins were classified as clean, close, or infiltrated; histologic grade was assessed in STSs and MCTs. Recurrence rates and recurrence-free intervals (RFIs) during a 24-month follow-up period were recorded, and method accuracy was calculated.
Results—Surgical margins were clean in 29 of 60 (48%) tumors, close in 11 (18%), and infiltrated in 20 (33%). Tumors recurred in 27 of 60 (45%) animals, with a mean ± SD RFI of 229 ± 173 days. Recurrence rates for animals that had tumors with infiltrated (16/20) or close (8/11) margins were significantly higher than recurrence rate for animals that had tumors with clean margins (3/29). Margin classification was a significant predictor of RFI. Accuracy of the method to predict recurrence was 94% for carcinomas, 87% for STSs, and 76% for MCTs.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Histologic assessment of margin status was useful for predicting local recurrence of cutaneous malignant tumors in dogs and cats treated by means of excision alone. Method accuracy varied among tumor types and grades. Recurrence times suggested postsurgical follow-up should continue for ≥ 2 years. Results were similar for animals with infiltrated and close tumor margins, and careful postsurgical management is recommended for both.