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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

TNM system

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.

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Last Revised: 02/23/2017

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