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November 1987

At Last—Worldwide Agreement on the Staging of CancerPresidential Address

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, St Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston, NJ; the Department of Pathology, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York; and the Department of Pathology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, Newark.

Arch Surg. 1987;122(11):1235-1239. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1987.01400230021002

The current TNM system for classification and staging of cancer approved by both the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) and the Union Internationale Contre le Cancer/TNM Committee (UICC/TNMC) is designed primarily for patient care and, in this context, is equally applicable to patients in clinical research, community hospitals, and developing countries. Flexibility in its use has been accomplished with a telescoping format where applicable, permitting the use of only major headings with fewer cases and ramification of the major headings to smaller subsets with larger numbers of cases, allowing for comparison of both types of data from anywhere in the world.

TNM HISTORICAL NOTES  Many of you in the audience have participated in the development of this system and can appreciate the value of worldwide agreement in staging as well as the problems inherent in reaching agreement. It has been a long process involving a legion of two generations

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