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Staging of salivary gland cancer

Tumors are classified according to the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) (3,4).

T classification

The T classification represents the extent of the primary tumor.

  • T1 – small tumors ≤ 2 cm in largest diameter
  • T2 – tumor 2–4 cm in largest diameter

  • T3 – Tumor > 4 cm, < 6 cm
  • T4 – Advanced tumors with invasion of neighboring organs, muscles, bone, and skin. 


N classification

The N classification represents spreading to regional lymph nodes on the neck. The widest diameter is measured.

  • N0 – no regional lymph node metastases
  • N1 – single ipsilateral lymph node metastasis ≤ 3 cm
  • N2
    • a – single ipsilateral lymph node metastasis > 3 cm ≤ 6 cm
    • b – multiple ipsilateral lymph node metastases ≤ 6 cm
    • c – bilateral or contralateral lymph node metastases ≤ 6 cm
  • N3 – ipsilateral lymph node metastases > 6 cm

M classification

The M classification represents distant metastases.

  • M0 – no distance metastases
  • M1 – distant metastases

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