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Tumor, node, metastasis (TNM) staging system for non-small cell lung cancer

Authors
Karl W Thomas, MD
Michael K Gould, MD, MS
Section Editors
James R Jett, MD
Rogerio C Lilenbaum, MD, FACP
Deputy Editor
Sadhna R Vora, MD

INTRODUCTION

The Tumor, Node, Metastasis (TNM) staging system for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is an internationally accepted system used to characterize the extent of disease. The TNM system combines features of the tumor into disease stage groups that correlate with survival and are linked to recommendations for treatment. Despite the evolving staging system, the links between stage and treatment have become weaker, given that older studies of stage-specific treatments were performed at a time that predated the staging techniques and treatments of modern clinical practice.

The purpose of TNM staging is to provide a description of the anatomic extent of cancer that can be easily communicated to others, assist in treatment decisions, and serve as an indicator of prognosis. It allows a way to compare cases, particularly in regards to the outcomes associated with different therapeutic options. In clinical practice, TNM stage is combined with the unique clinical characteristics of the patient and, in some cases, the molecular features of the tumor itself to guide prognostic assessment and treatment selections.

The eighth edition of the TNM staging system and the evidence supporting it are described in this topic (table 1 and table 2) [1,2]. The eighth edition will replace earlier editions of the TNM staging system beginning January 1, 2018. All newly diagnosed cases through December 31, 2017 should be staged with the seventh edition (table 3). Other relevant topics include:

(See "Overview of the risk factors, pathology, and clinical manifestations of lung cancer".)

(See "Overview of the initial evaluation, diagnosis, and staging of patients with suspected lung cancer".)

           

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Thu Dec 01 00:00:00 GMT 2016.
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References
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