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Oral Oncol. 2009 Apr-May;45(4-5):356-60. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2008.05.022. Epub 2008 Aug 19.

Staging and prognosis in head and neck cancer.

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Erasmus MC, P.O. Box 2040, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Head and neck malignant tumors are classified according to the TNM staging system. The TNM system is a universally accepted, widely used, staging method. Its goals are to help clinicians and researchers to choose from treatment options, to give patients an estimate of their prognosis and to compare results of treatment. In this paper we discuss the history and daily usage of the TNM system and some pros and cons. In the field of prognostic estimations, particularly for the individual patient, the TNM system could be upgraded with other prognostic indicators. We discuss insights into enhanced usage of the TNM system and the possibilities of comprehensive and dynamic staging models.

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