What are the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging groups for melanoma?

Updated: Jun 28, 2021
  • Author: Jonathan B Heistein, MD; Chief Editor: Gregory Gary Caputy, MD, PhD, FICS  more...
  • Print
Answer

Answer

Stage 0 (pTis, N0, M0): The melanoma is in situ, meaning that it involves the epidermis but has not spread to the dermis (lower layer).

Stage IA (pT1a, N0, M0): The melanoma is less than 1 mm in thickness and Clark level II or III. It is not ulcerated, appears to be localized in the skin, and has not been found in lymph nodes or distant organs.

Stage IB (pT1b or pT2a, N0, M0): The melanoma is less than 1 mm in thickness and is ulcerated or Clark level IV or V, or it is 1.01-2 mm and is not ulcerated. It appears to be localized in the skin and has not been found in lymph nodes or distant organs.

Stage IIA (pT2b or pT3a, N0, M0): The melanoma is 1.01-2 mm in thickness and is ulcerated, or it is 2.01-4 mm and is not ulcerated. It appears to be localized in the skin and has not been found in lymph nodes or distant organs.

Stage IIB (pT3b or pT4a, N0, M0): The melanoma is 2.01-4 mm in thickness and is ulcerated, or it is thicker than 4 mm and is not ulcerated. It appears to be localized in the skin and has not been found in lymph nodes or distant organs.

Stage IIC (pT4b, N0, M0): The melanoma is thicker than 4 mm and is ulcerated. It appears to be localized in the skin and has not been found in lymph nodes or distant organs.

Stage III (any pT, N1-3, M0): The melanoma has spread to lymph nodes near the affected skin area. No distant spread is present. The thickness of the melanoma is not a factor, although it is usually thick in people with stage III melanoma.

Stage IV (any pT, any N, any M1): The melanoma has spread beyond the original area of skin and nearby lymph nodes to other organs, such as the lungs, liver, or brain, or to distant areas of the skin or lymph nodes. Neither the lymph node status nor thickness is considered, but in general, the melanoma is thick and has spread to lymph nodes.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!