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Stage Information for Adult Primary Liver Cancer


    AJCC Stage Groupings

    Stage I

    • T1, N0, M0

    Stage II

    • T2, N0, M0

    Stage IIIA

    • T3, N0, M0

    Stage IIIB

    • T4, N0, M0

    Stage IIIC

    • Any T, N1, M0

    Stage IV

    • Any T, any N, M1

    For purposes of treatment, patients with liver cancer are grouped into 1 of 3 groups: localized resectable, localized unresectable, or advanced disease. These groups are described with the following AJCC stage groupings:

    Localized Resectable Adult Primary Liver Cancer

    (Selected T1 and T2; N0; M0)

    Localized resectable liver cancer is confined to a solitary mass in a portion of the liver, or a limited number of tumors confined to one lobe, that allows the possibility of complete surgical removal of the tumor with a margin of normal liver. Liver function tests are usually normal or minimally abnormal, and there should be no evidence of cirrhosis beyond Child class A or chronic hepatitis. Only a small percentage of liver cancer patients will prove to have such localized resectable disease. Preoperative assessment that includes 3-phase helical computed tomography and/or magnetic resonance scanning should be directed toward determining the presence of extension of tumor across interlobar planes, involvement of the hepatic hilus, or encroachment on the vena cava. A resected specimen should ideally contain a 1 cm margin of normal liver. Patients with cirrhosis and resectable tumors are also eligible for liver transplantation;[1] if eligible, sometimes other measures are instituted until liver transplantation becomes available.

    Localized and Locally Advanced Unresectable Adult Primary Liver Cancer

    (Selected T1, T2, T3, and T4; N0; M0)

    Localized and locally advanced unresectable liver cancer appears to be confined to the liver, but surgical resection of the entire tumor is not appropriate because of location within the liver or concomitant medical conditions (such as cirrhosis). These patients may be considered for liver transplantation.[2,3,4] For other patients, percutaneous or intraoperative radiofrequency ablation (RFA) or other forms of ablation of small (<3 cm) appropriately located tumors, or transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) may be options.[5]

    Advanced Adult Primary Liver Cancer

    (Any T, N1 or M1)


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