Dr. Mahul Amin Leads International Effort as Editor of the Premier Manual on Staging Cancer

Dr. Mahul Amin, incoming chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UTHSC, is the editor of the new edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer Staging Manual. (Photo by Thurman Hobson, UTHSC)

American Joint Committee on Cancer’s Newest Edition has Precision Medicine-Based Approach that Focuses on More Individualized Treatment

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center has recently embarked on a strategic vision to bring in a genomics-based precision medicine approach to patient care that is being rolled out through innovative research and clinical initiatives for its pediatric and adult programs. Mahul B. Amin, MD, who was named professor and chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the Gerwin Endowed Chair for Cancer Research at UTHSC in August, is the editor-in-chief of the eighth edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Cancer Staging Manual released on October 6. The manual outlines the rationale and rules for staging; the definitions of tumor, lymph node involvement and metastasis; stage groupings and histologic grade.

AJCC’s cancer staging is the universally accepted standardized nomenclature to classify cancer. It provides those with cancer and their physicians with the critical standards for determining the best treatment approach for their disease and for defining prognosis and the likelihood of overcoming the cancer once diagnosed. Since the seventh edition of the manual was published in 2009, researchers and medical practitioners have learned that genomic alterations drive cancer and may vary considerably between tumors that in the past were thought to be in the same category, said Dr. Amin, an internationally renowned oncologic pathologist, educator and researcher. This edition draws on these newer cancer biology concepts and emphasizes a more contemporary individualized approach to cancer classification and treatment, building on its four-decade-long traditional population-based approach. Significant updates are made in several cancer sites.

“The colon cancer staging update has several important new additions in staging and enlisting of genomic prognostic factors important for clinical care and for clinical trials stratification,” said David Shibata, MD, FACS, FASCRS, professor and Scheinberg Endowed Chair of the Department of Surgery at UTHSC and a member of AJCC’s colon cancer expert panel. The eighth edition of the AJCC TNM staging is effective for reporting of all cancer cases diagnosed on or after January 1, 2017.

“The vision employed by Dr. Amin in his efforts for the AJCC is exactly along the lines of cutting-edge care clinicians at UTHSC strive to provide. The university has recently recruited top-notch clinicians and researchers, like Drs. Shibata and Amin, throughout the campus to enable delivery of precision medicine paradigms to its patients,” said David Stern, MD, Robert Kaplan Executive Dean and Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs for the UTHSC College of Medicine. “We are extremely proud of the work done by our institutional clinicians and researchers, as their efforts not only impact the citizens of Tennessee, but also have a profound global impact.”

Approximately 430 experts from 184 academic institutions in 22 countries on six continents worked to produce this influential resource in cancer management and research. “It has been a true privilege to lead some of the best cancer professionals from around the world to help set the new standards of cancer classification and care for the next several years in our shared fight against cancer,” Dr. Amin said. “This collective effort will have a profound positive impact on cancer treatment, and will undoubtedly benefit cancer patients, their care providers and the scientific and surveillance communities.”

Dr. Amin also coauthored the World Health Organization classifications for urologic diseases in 2003 and 2016.