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CA Cancer J Clin. 2008 Mar-Apr;58(2):111-25. doi: 10.3322/CA.2007.0012. Epub 2008 Feb 13.

Tumor-node-metastasis staging of pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

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  • 1Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.


Accurate disease staging of patients with pancreatic cancer is essential to divide patients into prognostic subgroups, to allow delivery of stage-specific therapies, and to facilitate meaningful discussions between physicians and patients regarding management and expected outcomes. The tumor-node-metastasis staging system of the American Joint Commission on Cancer has undergone significant revisions over the past 2 decades. In its current form, the system places an emphasis on preoperative clinical staging and facilitates division of patients with pancreatic cancer into 4 groups based on a determination of local resectability and the presence or absence of distant disease as determined on high-quality cross-sectional imaging. A modern understanding of local tumor factors that influence technical resectability is incorporated into the algorithm. In this review, we examine the American Joint Commission on Cancer staging system, describe the rationale for its use, and demonstrate how it is a clinically relevant tool for the staging and management of patients with pancreatic cancer.

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