TNM-Immune Cell Score Trial

The current system for categorizing cancer (UICC-TNM method) predominantly focuses on intrinsic attributes of the tumor itself. This includes the specific properties of the tumor cells, how far it has advanced, its invasive nature, and whether it has spread to distant parts of the body. Yet, to date, there isn't a classification system that takes the immune response into account.

A diagram of a cancer cell

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Our research has shed light on the profound role that the immune system plays in the prognosis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. We have recognized that the "immune landscape" – a term that encompasses the type, density, functional direction, and the specific localization of immune cells within the tumor – can significantly impact the outcome for NSCLC patients. 

In our investigations, we introduced a novel method of classifying tumors, which hinges on the degree to which immune cells have infiltrated the tumor tissue. This system, named the TNM-Immune cell score or TNM-I, has been shown to enhance the precision of tumor staging in NSCLC. In simpler terms, it gives medical professionals a better idea of how advanced the cancer is and, therefore, how to best approach treatment.

To ensure this groundbreaking knowledge is applied and benefits patients, we have initiated a comprehensive study across multiple Scandinavian medical centers. This research project, known as the NSCLC TNM-I clinical study, has a target of enrolling 1,000 participants. As of February 2022, we are excited to report that we have successfully enrolled all required participants. The University Hospital of North Norway is spearheading this study, with contributions from other prominent institutions across Norway and Denmark. This list includes esteemed centers like St. Olavs Hospital, Rigshospitalet in Denmark, Odense University Hospital, and Oslo University Hospital.

For further details about this clinical trial, including primary and secondary outcomes as well as inclusion and exclusion criteria, please visit the following link at database: ID: NCT03299478

The project is ongoing.


Tom Dønnem (Principal investigator)
Sigve Andersen (Principal investigator)
Lill-Tove Rasmussen Busund (Principal investigator)

Financial/grant information:

Norwegian Cancer Society

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