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Conservative Re-excision is a Safe and Simple Alternative to Radical Resection in Revision Surgery for Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans



Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) is a dermal sarcoma often diagnosed by excision biopsy, and is often incompletely excised, with high recurrence rates. Traditional wide excision involves resection margins of 2–4 cm, often resulting in morbid procedures requiring surgical reconstruction. An alternative is conservative re-excision (CRE), which results in narrower margins and less-frequent reconstruction. The aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness of CRE in providing local control.

Patients and Methods

A retrospective review of patients treated for DFSP at a tertiary sarcoma centre over a 10-year period.


Ninety-eight patients were analysed. Median follow-up was 53 months. Fifty-four patients had microscopically incompletely excised DFSP, and of these, 41 underwent CRE of DFSP scar. Seven (17.1%) patients required more than one CRE to achieve negative margins. The mean width of CRE was 15.4 mm. Fifty-four patients had resection of intact tumours, with 19 (35.2%) requiring surgical reconstruction. One patient (1%) developed local recurrence, and one patient (1%) distant recurrence—both of these patients had high-grade fibrosarcomatous DFSP. No patient with classical DFSP who had clear margins sustained recurrence, regardless of whether their surgery was CRE of scar or wide excision of tumour.


CRE is a safe and acceptable alternative to traditional wide excision, with no patients developing local recurrence (LR). CRE results in low rates of surgical reconstruction, and hence lower morbidity; this is partially offset by the higher rates of inadequate excision requiring further surgery. However, the lesser rate of inadequate excision compared with rates of reconstruction makes CRE an attractive option.

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Correspondence to Hayden Snow MBBS, FRACS.

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Snow, H., Davies, E., Strauss, D.C. et al. Conservative Re-excision is a Safe and Simple Alternative to Radical Resection in Revision Surgery for Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans. Ann Surg Oncol 27, 919–923 (2020).

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