Purpose: We evaluated risk factors for positive soft tissue surgical margins and the impact of soft tissue surgical margins on metastatic progression and disease specific survival in patients treated with radical cystectomy for bladder cancer. Materials and Methods: A total of 1,589 patients who underwent radical cystectomy for primary urothelial cancer at our institution were included in the study. Several variables were analyzed including gender, age, use of perioperative chemotherapy, tumor stage, tumor grade, presence of carcinoma in situ, pathological vascular invasion, bladder pathology, status of soft tissue surgical margins, lymph node status, number of lymph nodes removed and number of positive lymph nodes. End points were freedom from progression to metastases and disease specific survival. Results: Positive soft tissue surgical margins were detected in 67 patients (4.2%). Risk factors for positive soft tissue surgical margins were female gender (p = 0.04), pathological stage, vascular invasion in the radical cystectomy specimen, lymph node metastases (all p ≤0.001) and median number of positive lymph nodes (p = 0.002). In addition, nonpure transitional cell carcinoma histology (p = 0.001) was associated with positive soft tissue surgical margins. In the 5 years after cystectomy, rates of disease specific survival for the negative and positive soft tissue surgical margin groups were 72% (95% CI 69-75) and 32% (95% CI 19-54), respectively. On multivariate analysis disease specific death was associated with tumor stage, positive soft tissue surgical margins, vascular invasion, presence of positive lymph nodes, number of nodes removed and number of positive nodes. Conclusions: Risk factors for positive soft tissue surgical margins are female gender, locally advanced cancer, presence of vascular invasion and mixed histology. Patients with positive soft tissue surgical margins have poor prognosis, and positive soft tissue surgical margins were found to be independently associated with disease specific death.
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