Positive margins are known to impact survival in oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OCSCC). We aimed to determine the impact of positive margins on survival and whether radiation improves survival following positive margins.
Data was obtained from the National Cancer Database and included patients with cT1T2N0 OCSCC. Survival outcomes were assessed via log-rank test. Cox-regression analysis was performed to determine if positive margins or radiation, when applicable, correlated with survival after accounting for covariates.
Positive margin patients had worse overall survival compared to negative margin control (HR = 1.76, p < 0.001) and reduced survival by 13%. On multivariate analysis, positive margins correlated with survival (HR = 1.60, p < 0.001). Radiation did not improve survival in positive margin patients (HR = 0.99, p = 0.55).
Patients with positive margins have an 11-15% worse overall survival. Radiation does not appear to impact survival in patients with a positive margin.

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