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9 September 2020

A system for classifying cancers diagnosed in adolescents and young adults

A new classification of cancers in adolescents and young adults has been developed by an international consortium, including the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The new classification system reflects the specific biology and epidemiology of cancers diagnosed in people aged 15–39 years. The system is presented in a Commentary in the journal Cancer.

This new classification is based on the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Classification of Tumours series, which are regularly updated by IARC/WHO. It is the outcome of international conferences engaging a multidisciplinary group of oncologists, pathologists, epidemiologists, and other experts.

The tumours are grouped into 11 main categories containing all invasive cases and a supplementary category containing in situ tumours. The main categories are divided into more homogeneous subcategories. Data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the United States National Cancer Institute are used to illustrate the classification system.

Classifying cancers in adolescents and young adults according to this new system will improve the international comparability of data collected by cancer registries and facilitate comparative epidemiological and clinical research.

Barr RD, Ries LAG, Trama A, Gatta G, Steliarova-Foucher E, Stiller CA, et al.
A system for classifying cancers diagnosed in adolescents and young adults
Cancer, Published online 9 September 2020;

Read the Commentary 


Publication status

Published in section: IARC News

Publication date: 9 September, 2020, 1:45

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