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SNOMED establishes agreement with UICC to integrate Tumour, Node, & Metastasis Classification of Malignant Tumours into SNOMED CT

May 30, 2024

SNOMED International and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) have signed a collaboration agreement that will enable the integration of the Tumour, Node, Metastasis (TNM) Classification of Malignant Tumours into SNOMED CT.

The TNM Classification, which the UICC manages and publishes, is a globally recognised standard for classifying the extent and spread of cancer. SNOMED CT is a comprehensive, multilingual healthcare terminology created for use by healthcare professionals to capture the care of individuals in an electronic health record (EHR) and facilitate sharing, decision support and analytics, to support safe and effective health information exchange.

The TNM Classification is widely used in SNOMED International Member countries and is recommended by the organization’s relevant Clinical Reference Groups.

As part of the collaboration and integration of the two terminologies, SNOMED CT will provide the content and a model to enable TNM staging to be recorded in EHRs and other related records. The two organizations will ensure that the UICC staging values are represented in a way that enables users to unambiguously identify the UICC classification content. 

The initial focus of this endeavour will be the 8th edition of the UICC TNM Classification; the agreement, however, includes the incorporation of relevant content from the 9th edition when it is available. In addition, the group will ensure that ongoing changes to SNOMED CT and UICC staging values are reflected in the integration.

The collaboration follows a 2022 agreement with the American College of Surgeons to include agreed upon American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) references in SNOMED CT critical to understanding cancer and treating patients, while eliminating outdated AJCC content no longer relevant to clinical care within SNOMED CT.

“This collaboration will help ensure clinicians and researchers in this domain have access to the most up-to-date and integrated terminology possible and are therefore able to make the most informed clinical decisions they can for their patients,” said SNOMED International CEO Don Sweete. “It will also contribute to better interoperability, which is of paramount importance when treating illnesses such as cancer, as patients are typically referred to a number of other specialists and care providers.”

Dr James Brierley, Co-Chair of the UICC TNM Core Committee, added, "We are delighted to provide TNM content in response to requests from several European Ministries of Health. UICC’s collaboration with SNOMED International to integrate the TNM Classification into SNOMED CT brings us one step closer to achieving uniform use of the TNM Classification. This is a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to improve cancer care and outcomes for patients worldwide.”

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