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Concept: TNM staging system


Answer questions and earn CME/CNE The revision of the eighth edition of the primary tumor, lymph node, and metastasis (TNM) classification of the American Joint Commission of Cancer (AJCC) for breast cancer was determined by a multidisciplinary team of breast cancer experts. The panel recognized the need to incorporate biologic factors, such as tumor grade, proliferation rate, estrogen and progesterone receptor expression, human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) expression, and gene expression prognostic panels into the staging system. AJCC levels of evidence and guidelines for all tumor types were followed as much as possible. The panel felt that, to maintain worldwide value, the tumor staging system should remain based on TNM anatomic factors. However, the recognition of the prognostic influence of grade, hormone receptor expression, and HER2 amplification mandated their inclusion into the staging system. The value of commercially available, gene-based assays was acknowledged and prognostic input added. Tumor biomarkers and low Oncotype DX recurrence scores can alter prognosis and stage. These updates are expected to provide additional precision and flexibility to the staging system and were based on the extent of published information and analysis of large, as yet unpublished databases. The eighth edition of the AJCC TNM staging system, thus, provides a flexible platform for prognostic classification based on traditional anatomic factors, which can be modified and enhanced using patient biomarkers and multifactorial prognostic panel data. The eighth edition remains the worldwide basis for breast cancer staging and will incorporate future online updates to remain timely and relevant. CA Cancer J Clin 2017. © 2017 American Cancer Society.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Carcinoma in situ, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Lymph node, TNM staging system, Ann Arbor staging


Over the past decades, many studies have used data mining technology to predict the 5-year survival rate of colorectal cancer, but there have been few reports that compared multiple data mining algorithms to the TNM classification of malignant tumors (TNM) staging system using a dataset in which the training and testing data were from different sources. Here we compared nine data mining algorithms to the TNM staging system for colorectal survival analysis.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Carcinoma in situ, Cancer staging, Colorectal cancer, Survival rate, TNM staging system, Ann Arbor staging


Background. The 7th TNM staging system for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) developed by the International Association for the study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) has been applied in Sweden since the beginning of the year 2010. The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate the prognostic role of the 7th TNM staging system in a surgical Swedish patient cohort with node-negative NSCLC. Material and methods. We collected data from stage I patients (pT1-2 pN0, 6th TNM system) who underwent surgery for NSCLC at Karolinska University Hospital from 1987 to 2002. Tumors were restaged according to the 7th TNM version. Cox multivariate survival analysis was implemented in order to determine the prognostic impact of pathological stage when classified according to either the 6th or the 7th TNM systems. Results. The patient population consisted of 452 subjects. Tumor size was ≤ 3 cm in 51% of cases. The predominant histology was adenocarcinoma (53%) and lobectomy was the most common surgical procedure (82% of patients). The five-year survival rate in patients with stage IA vs. IB (6th TNM) was 62% vs. 51%, respectively (log-rank p = 0.036). Corresponding figures for the 7th TNM system were 70% in stage IA-T1a, 51% in stage IA-T1b, 54% in stage IB, 51% in stage IIA and 35% in stage IIB (log-rank p = 0.002). On multivariate analysis, adjusted by age, gender, histology, kind of surgery, grade of differentiation and smoking status, pathological stage was an independent prognostic factor if classified according to the 7th TNM version (p = 0.001), but not if scored according to the 6th TNM edition (p = 0.090). Conclusion. The 7th TNM classification system is a more accurate predictor of prognosis in stage I operated patients than the old classification. The new system should be implemented even on retrospective cohorts especially when investigating the prognostic implication of the expression of molecular biomarkers.

Concepts: Cancer, Carcinoma in situ, Lung cancer, Non-small cell lung carcinoma, Cancer staging, Hospital, TNM staging system, Ann Arbor staging


Appendiceal neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) are rare and usually incidentally discovered. Most cases are clinically indolent, although the rare aggressive ones are poorly predictable. The aim of this study was to test the applicability and prognostic significance of the new World Health Organization (WHO) classification and to test the several pathologic features and TNM staging systems (American Joint Committee on Cancer and European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society) in these tumors. A multi-institutional retrospective series of 138 appendiceal NENs was selected on the basis of the availability of both pathologic material and clinical information, including follow-up data. All cases were reviewed to record pathologic features and to apply year 2000 and 2010 WHO classifications, as well as European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society and American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM stages. Clinical and pathologic characteristics were compared with disease outcome by contingency, univariate, and multivariate survival analyses. Although up to one third of cases presented several malignancy-associated pathologic features, only 4 patients died of the disease. Adverse outcome was significantly associated with extramural extension (including mesoappendix), well-differentiated carcinoma diagnosis (2000 WHO classification), pT3-4 stage, older age, and presence of positive resection margins, but not with tumor size, mitotic or proliferative indexes, and, consequently, 2010 WHO grading. In the appendix, at variance with midgut/hindgut NENs, the 2000 WHO classification performs better than the grading-based 2010 WHO scheme and, together with tumor stage, is the most relevant parameter associated with clinical aggressiveness.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Carcinoma in situ, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Neuroendocrine tumor, TNM staging system, Ann Arbor staging


To evaluate the efficacy and prognostic validity for disease-specific survival (DSS) of the 8th edition American Joint Committee on Cancer/Union for International Cancer Control (AJCC/UICC) tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) staging system (TNM-8) compared with the 7th edition (TNM-7) in patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC).

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Carcinoma in situ, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Types of cancer, TNM staging system, Ann Arbor staging


Patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)-related oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) generally present with more advanced disease but have better survival than patients with HPV-unrelated OPC. The current American Joint Commission on Cancer (AJCC)/Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) TNM staging system for OPC was developed for HPV-unrelated OPC. A new staging system is needed to adequately predict outcomes of patients with HPV-related OPC.

Concepts: Cancer, Human papillomavirus, Carcinoma in situ, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Nasopharyngeal carcinoma, TNM staging system, Ann Arbor staging


The spread of cancer cells from primary tumors to regional lymph nodes is often associated with reduced survival. One prevailing model to explain this association posits that fatal, distant metastases are seeded by lymph node metastases. This view provides a mechanistic basis for the TNM staging system and is the rationale for surgical resection of tumor-draining lymph nodes. Here we examine the evolutionary relationship between primary tumor, lymph node, and distant metastases in human colorectal cancer. Studying 213 archival biopsy samples from 17 patients, we used somatic variants in hypermutable DNA regions to reconstruct high-confidence phylogenetic trees. We found that in 65% of cases, lymphatic and distant metastases arose from independent subclones in the primary tumor, whereas in 35% of cases they shared common subclonal origin. Therefore, two different lineage relationships between lymphatic and distant metastases exist in colorectal cancer.

Concepts: Cancer, Metastasis, Oncology, Carcinoma in situ, Cancer staging, Lymph node, Lymph, TNM staging system


Structured reporting is emerging as a key element of optimising radiology’s contribution to patient outcomes and ensuring the value of radiologists' work. It is being developed and supported by many national and international radiology societies, based on the recognised need to use uniform language and structure to accurately describe radiology findings. Standardisation of report structures ensures that all relevant areas are addressed. Standardisation of terminology prevents ambiguity in reports and facilitates comparability of reports. The use of key data elements and quantified parameters in structured reports (“radiomics”) permits automatic functions (e.g. TNM staging), potential integration with other clinical parameters (e.g. laboratory results), data sharing (e.g. registries, biobanks) and data mining for research, teaching and other purposes. This article outlines the requirements for a successful structured reporting strategy (definition of content and structure, standard terminologies, tools and protocols). A potential implementation strategy is outlined. Moving from conventional prose reports to structured reporting is endorsed as a positive development, and must be an international effort, with international design and adoption of structured reporting templates that can be translated and adapted in local environments as needed. Industry involvement is key to success, based on international data standards and guidelines.

Concepts: Cancer staging, Structure, Report, Radiology, Standard, TNM staging system, Terminology


Over the past two decades, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) Staging Project has been a steady source of evidence-based recommendations for the tumor, node, metastasis (TNM) classification for lung cancer published by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC). The Staging and Prognostic Factors Committee (SPFC) of the IASLC is now issuing a call for participation in the next phase of the project, designed to inform the ninth edition of the TNM classification for lung cancer. Following the case recruitment model for the eighth edition database, volunteer site participants are asked to submit data on patients diagnosed between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2019 to the project by means of a secure, electronic data capture (EDC) system provided by Cancer Research And Biostatistics (CRAB) in Seattle, WA, USA. Alternatively, participants may transfer existing data sets. The continued success of the IASLC Staging Project in achieving its objectives will depend on the extent of international participation, the degree to which cases are entered directly into the EDC system, and how closely externally submitted cases conform to the data elements for the project.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Carcinoma in situ, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, American Joint Committee on Cancer, TNM staging system


The Tumor-Node-Metastasis (TNM) classification on cancer staging, jointly developed by the American Joint Commission on Cancer (AJCC) and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), has been updated to its 8th edition with two contemporaneous versions published by the AJCC and UICC. While the goal of the AJCC and UICC is to have identical TNM staging systems, differences exist between these two publications including in the staging of urologic cancers. Among several new facets in the AJCC staging manual, a select few of greater import include an expanded section on imaging, presentation of levels of evidence for significant changes, and endorsement of risk assessment models that pass the AJCC quality criteria such as in prostate cancer. The updates for urologic cancers in the AJCC stage categories can be grouped into: (1) newly defined TNM categories and prognostic stage groupings, (2) clarifications and refinements of previously defined categories, and (3) more systematic and expanded presentation of prognostic factors. Changes are harmonized with the current reporting and treatment guidelines. Contributions from genitourinary pathology are evident in the AJCC classification from many of the International Society of Urological Pathology (ISUP) consensus conferences on prostate, kidney, testicular, and penile neoplasms that addressed staging issues and the timely publication of the 4th edition of the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of urinary and male genital organ tumors. New grading approaches for penile (WHO/ISUP grade), prostate (Grade group), and kidney (WHO/ISUP nucleolar grade) cancers were adopted in the AJCC system. Many of these updates in the AJCC staging manual are also included in the 8th UICC TNM edition. In an effort to achieve the optimal staging recommendations for urologic cancers, updates in the 8th TNM edition were generated through the acquisition of best evidences, tapping interdisciplinary resources including consensus recommendations, and enhanced data analysis.

Concepts: Cancer, Carcinoma in situ, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Prostate cancer, Testicular cancer, Sex organ, TNM staging system