Blog, Esophageal Cancer

Esophagus Cancer-Staging

Esophagus cancer staging helps to determine the disease prognosis and to select an appropriate treatment strategy. TNM is the most commonly used staging system for breast cancer. “T” stands for “Tumor Size”, “N” for “Lymph Nodes”, and “M” for “Metastasis”. Numbers and/or letters after T (is, 1a, 1b, 2, and 3), N (0, 1, 2, and 3), and M (0 and 1) provide more details about each of these factors. Higher the number means higher the severity of the disease. Following table describes the characteristics of esophageal cancer according to TNM stages:

T staging esophageal cancer

N and M staging esophageal cancer

T Staging Description


Tis Pre-cancerous or cancerous cells present only in the epithelium of esophagus
T1a Tumor invades mucosa (T1a).
T1b Cancerous cells present in all layers of the esophagus epithelium and into the middle muscular layer
T2 Tumor invades the muscular layer (muscularis propria)


Tumor invades in the serosa/adventitia
T4a Tumor invades the pleura, pericardium, azygous vein, diaphragm , or peritoneum
T4b Tumor invades other adjacent structures, such as aorta, vertebral body, or airway.
N Staging
N0 No regional lymph node involvement
N1 Tumor has spread to 1 to 2 regional lymph nodes
N2 Tumor has spread to 3 to 6 regional lymph nodes
N3 Tumor has spread to 7 or more regional lymph nodes
M Staging
M0 No spread to distant sites
M1 Spread to distant sites like lungs, pleura, peritoneum, liver, bones, etc

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