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Joyce Y. Wong and Vernon K. Sondak

Radical wide excision with appropriate margins based on depth of tumor invasion has been the standard adopted in NCCN and national clinical practice guidelines in oncology based on randomized controlled trial data. When carefully scrutinized, however, questions remain unanswered about what constitute appropriate margins in many frequently encountered clinical situations. In addition to the single characteristic of tumor depth, factors such as primary tumor location, histologic classification, and even specific patient characteristics may all contribute to risk for local recurrence, and therefore should potentially be considered in margin recommendations. This article addresses current uncertainty surrounding optimal margin status in primary cutaneous melanoma.