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Keywords:

  • Colon cancer;
  • TNM;
  • SEER

Abstract

Aim:  The new TNM classification is currently being implemented. We evaluated the TNM-7 staging system based on the two nationwide colon cancer registries in the United States and Japan to clarify whether this system better stratifies patients’ prognoses than the TNM-6 did and to determine whether stratification can be effectively simplified.

Methods:  The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results population-based data from 1988 to 2001 for 50 139 colon cancer patients and the multi-institutional registry data from the Japanese Society for Cancer of the Colon and Rectum from 1984 to 1994 for 10 754 patients were analysed. We devised a modified version of the TNM-7 staging system to allow simpler classification of the TN categories and compared the TNM-6, TNM-7, modified TNM-7, and the Dukes staging system based on survival curves and objective statistical tests such as likelihood ratio χ2 tests, Akaike’s information criterion, and Harrell’s c-index.

Results:  The TNM-7 was superior to the TNM-6 in all objective statistical tests in the United States (c-index; 0.700 vs 0.696, < 0.001) as well as in the Japan data sets (0.732 vs 0.729, = 0.035). The modified TNM-7 is much simpler, but it nevertheless showed similar values to those of the original TNM-7 (c-index; the United States 0.702, Japan 0.733).

Conclusions:  The new TNM-7 is complicated but better at stratifying patients than the TNM-6 in the United States and Japan, and could be effectively simplified.