How is cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) staged?

Updated: Jul 08, 2020
  • Author: Talib Najjar, DMD, MDS, PhD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Like many cancers, cSCC is staged clinically by tumor and node size and metastasis, ie, the TNM staging system, as devised by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC). [30]

Although TNM staging is useful for estimating the outcome for a group of patients with cSCC who have similar tumor characteristics, it cannot estimate the risk for an individual patient. Current methods for estimating the outcome of a patient with cSCC depend heavily on the total excision of the lesion, with clear margins verified by frozen sections.

Despite the inherent limitations of TNM staging, the outcomes of patients with cSCC follow a predictable pattern. Most patients present with early stage tumors, and most of these patients fare well (overall 5-yr survival rate >90%) when the tumors are adequately treated.

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