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Cancer Staging Systems

Staging of colon cancer

Last Update: Sunday January 4th, 2004 7:15 PM GMT

TNM definition

Primary tumor (T)

  • TX: Primary tumor cannot be assessed
  • T0: No evidence of primary tumor
  • Tis: Carcinoma in situ: intraepithelial or invasion of the lamina propria
  • T1: Tumor invades submucosa
  • T2: Tumor invades muscularis propria
  • T3: Tumor invades through the muscularis propria into the subserosa, or into nonperitonealized pericolic or perirectal tissues
  • T4: Tumor directly invades other organs or structures, and/or perforates visceral peritoneum

Regional lymph nodes (N)

  • NX: Regional nodes cannot be assessed
  • N0: No regional lymph node metastasis
  • N1: Metastasis in 1 to 3 regional lymph nodes
  • N2: Metastasis in 4 or more regional lymph nodes

Distant metastasis (M)

  • MX: Distant metastasis cannot be assessed
  • M0: No distant metastasis
  • M1: Distant metastasis

Stage grouping

Stage 0

  • Tis, N0, M0

Stage I

  • T1, N0, M0
  • T2, N0, M0

Stage IIA

  • T3, N0, M0

Stage IIB

  • T4, N0, M0

Stage IIIA

  • T1, N1, M0
  • T2, N1, M0

Stage IIIB

  • T3, N1, M0
  • T4, N1, M0

Stage IIIC

  • Any T, N2, M0

Stage IV

  • Any T, Any N, M1


  1. Colon and rectum. In: American Joint Committee on Cancer.: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 6th ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2002, pp 113-124.

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