The pancreatic cancer staging process often uses the AJCC TNM system, which uses three criteria to judge the stage of the cancer: the size and location of the primary tumor (T), the adjacent lymph nodes (N) and if the tumor has spread to the rest of the body (M).
Primary tumor (T)
- TX - Primary tumor cannot be assessed.
- T0 - No evidence of primary tumor.
- Tis - Carcinoma in situ.
- T1 - Tumor limited to pancreas, 2 cm or less in greatest dimension.
- T2 - Tumor limited to pancreas, more than 2 cm in greatest dimension.
- T3 - Tumor extends beyond the pancreas but without involvement of the celiac axis or the superior mesenteric artery.
- T4 - Tumor involves the celiac axis or the superior mesenteric artery (unresectable primary tumor).
Regional lymph nodes (N)
- Nx - Regional lymph nodes cannot be assessed.
- N0 - No regional lymph node metastasis.
- N1 - Regional lymph node metastasis.
Distant metastasis (M)
- M0 - No distant metastasis.
- M1 - Distant metastasis.