Squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity (staging)

Dr Henry Knipe and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

Staging of oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma uses the TNM staging system.

Primary tumor staging (T)
  • Tx: primary tumor cannot be assessed
  • T0: there is no evidence of primary tumor
  • Tis: carcinoma is in situ
  • T1: tumor is 2 cm or less in greatest dimension
  • T2: tumor is more than 2 cm but not greater than 4 cm in
    greatest dimension
  • T3: tumor is more than 4 cm in greatest dimension
  • T4 (lip): tumor invades through cortical bone, inferior alveolar
    nerve, floor of mouth, or skin of face, i.e. chin or nose
    • T4a (oral): tumor invades adjacent structures (e.g., through
      cavity) cortical bone, into deep/extrinsic muscles of tongue,
      maxillary sinus, skin of face)
    • T4b: tumor invades masticator space, pterygoid plates, or
      skull base and/or encases the internal carotid artery

Superficial erosion alone of bone/tooth socket by gingival primary
is not sufficient to classify as T4.

Nodal status (N)

Nodal staging is the same for SCCs of the oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx and larynx.

  • Nx - nodes cannot be assessed
  • N0 - no regional nodal metastases
  • N1 - single ipsilateral node, ≤ 3cm
  • N2
    • N2a - single ipsilateral node, 3-6 cm
    • N2b - multiple ipsilateral nodes, < 6 cm
    • N2c
      • bilateral nodal metastases OR
      • contralateral nodal metastases < 6 cm
  • N3 : any nodal metastasis > 6 cm
Metastases (M)
  • M0 - no metastases
  • M1 - distant metastases present

See also

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Article information

rID: 2002
Section: Staging
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • SCC staging - Oral cavity
  • Oral cavity SCC staging

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