Lung cancer staging system could improve cancer treatment

4th April 2011

A new system designed to predict the recurrence of lung cancer following surgery seems to be a better indicator than previous systems, according to recent research.

The seventh tumour, node metastasis classification (TNM7) was produced by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer in 2009, following changes from its predecessor based on the analysis of data from a large international database.

It was put to the test by researchers at the Duke University School of Medicine, who found that the system was better suited to establishing the risk of further cancer and the need for cancer treatment.

Scientists looked at more than 700 patients who had undergone surgery for lung cancer between 1995 and 2005 and used TNM7 and its predecessor, TNM6, to determine the likelihood of recurrence.

They discovered that the newer system altered the grading for the patients and gave a more accurate picture of the stage of the disease.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in early 2008 showed that having the ability to determine the likelihood of a recurrence of lung cancer can greatly aid cancer treatment.

Posted by Edward Bartel


1. Pepek, Joseph M et al. “How Well Does the New Lung Cancer Staging System Predict for Local/Regional Recurrence After Surgery?: A Comparison of the TNM 6 and 7 Systems” Journal of Thoracic Oncology. April 2011
2. Brock, Dr Malcolm et al. "DNA Methylation Markers and Early Recurrence in Stage I Lung Cancer." New England Journal of Medicine.

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