Article Text

Update on eighth edition American Joint Committee on Cancer classification for cutaneous melanoma and overview of potential pitfalls in histological examination of staging parameters
  1. Celestine M Trinidad,
  2. Carlos A Torres-Cabala,
  3. Jonathan L Curry,
  4. Victor G Prieto,
  5. Phyu P Aung
  1. Dermatopathology Section, Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Phyu P Aung, Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD, Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA; paung{at}; Professor Victor G Prieto, Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD, Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA; vprieto{at}


Cutaneous melanoma causes most of the skin cancer deaths in the USA. Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer among men and the sixth most common cancer among women. The incidence of melanoma has risen sharply over the past three decades. In this review, which is informed by our extensive experience at a large cancer centre, we outline the key differences between the tumour, node and metastases staging criteria for cutaneous melanoma in the seventh and eighth editions of the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. We also offer advice on how to assess the histophenotypic parameters that are relevant for staging, with a special focus on avoiding potential pitfalls, and how to report all the prognostically and therapeutically relevant histophenotypic parameters. Correct assessment and reporting of these clinically relevant histophenotypic parameters is of outmost importance for practising pathologists because these parameters help treating clinicians select the most appropriate personalised treatment for patients in this era of promising targeted and immunotherapies.

  • melanoma
  • staging
  • AJCC

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  • Handling editor Runjan Chetty.

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. Corresponding author information has been updated to include Professor Victor G Prieto. Permission and original source details has been included in Tables 1-3. A number of updates has been included in the reference list.

  • Contributors CMT wrote the draft manuscript; VGP contributed with original idea and reviewing of the manuscript; PPA supervised the write up from the draft to final stage; CAT and JLC reviewed the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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