A systematic review of surgical margins utilized for removal of cutaneous mast cell tumors in dogs

BMC Vet Res. 2020 Jan 6;16(1):5. doi: 10.1186/s12917-019-2227-8.


Background: Traditionally, wide lateral surgical margins of 3 cm and one fascial plane deep have been recommended for resection of canine cutaneous mast cell tumor (MCT). Several studies have been published assessing surgical margins of less than this traditional recommendation. The objective of this systematic review was to determine if resection MCT with lateral surgical margins < 3 cm results in low rates of incomplete resection and local tumor recurrence. Systematic searches of digital bibliographic databases were performed with two authors (AR & LES) screening abstracts to identify relevant scientific articles. Studies regarding surgical treatment of dogs with cutaneous MCT were reviewed. Data abstraction was performed and the quality of individual studies and the strength of the body of evidence for utilization of surgical margins < 3 cm for removal of MCTs was assessed.

Results: From the initial 78 citations identified through the database searches, four articles were retained for data abstraction after both relevance screenings were performed. Two studies were retrospective observational studies, one was a prospective case series and one was a prospective clinical trial. Assessment of the quality level of the body of evidence identified using the GRADE system was low. Excision of MCT at 2 cm and 3 cm was associated with comparably low rates of incomplete excision and recurrence.

Conclusions: Despite the low quality of the overall body of evidence, a recommendation can be made that resection of canine cutaneous MCTs (< 4 cm) of Patnaik grade I and II with 2 cm lateral margins and 1 fascial plane deep results in low rates of incomplete excision and local tumor recurrence.

Keywords: Dog; Mast cell tumor; Surgery; Surgical margin.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / surgery*
  • Dogs
  • Margins of Excision*
  • Mast-Cell Sarcoma / surgery
  • Mast-Cell Sarcoma / veterinary*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / prevention & control
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / veterinary
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Skin Neoplasms / veterinary*
  • Treatment Outcome