Transmission of Genetic Material and Malignant Cells of Cutaneous Origin via Surgical Sutures

Ariel Berl, Ofir Shir-az, Shelly Tartakover-Matalon, Vladimir Kravtsov, Alexander Golberg, Mrinal Kashyap, Avshalom Shalom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Seeding of skin cancer cells following diagnostic or therapeutic surgical procedures can occur and might cause local recurrences. As current preferred therapy for skin malignancy is surgical excision, seeding of tumour cells by manipulating malignant tissue or suturing can be another factor leading to recurrences. Objective: To evaluate whether genetic material and malignant cells adhere to standard suture materials. Methods: This prospective study included patients who underwent excision of skin lesions. Monofilament and braided sutures were examined. Sutures were passed through the observed tumour or healthy skin margins and were examined for DNA material and cells by cytological analysis, cell culture and characterization, and DNA analysis. Results: Twenty-two patients and 148 sutures were included. DNA quantification showed DNA material on all sutures, with no significant difference between braided and monofilament sutures. Cytological analysis showed that all slides prepared from cell blocks contained normal squamous and atypical cells. Cell culture and characterization showed viable cells adhering to the sutures under direct light microscopy. Cell cultures showed rapid proliferation of epithelial cells from squamous cell carcinoma specimens. Conclusion: Suture materials carry DNA material and cells, including malignant cells of cutaneous origin and may seed them at distant sites.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • non-melanoma skin cancer
  • seeding
  • suturing materials
  • tumour recurrence

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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