Oral cavity tumours (T staging)

T staging of oral cavity tumours is as follows:

Oral cavity

The anterior border of the oral cavity is the junction of the skin and vermilion
border of the lip. The posterior border is formed by the junction of the hard and soft palates superiorly, the circumvallate papillae inferiorly, and the anterior tonsillar pillars laterally.

The various sites within the oral cavity include the lip, gingival, hard palate, buccal mucosa, floor of mouth, anterior 2/3 of tongue, and retromolar trigone.


  • Tx: primary tumour cannot be assessed
  • T0: there is no evidence of primary tumor
  • Tis: carcinoma is in situ
  • T1: tumour is 2 cm or less in greatest dimension
  • T2: tumour is more than 2 cm but not greater than 4 cm in
    greatest dimension
  • T3: tumour is more than 4 cm in greatest dimension
  • T4 (lip): tumour invades through cortical bone, inferior alveolar
    nerve, floor of mouth, or skin of face, i.e. chin or nose
    • T4a (oral): tumour invades adjacent structures (e.g., through
      cavity) cortical bone, into deep/extrinsic muscles of tongue,
      maxillary sinus, skin of face)
    • T4b: tumour invades masticator space, pterygoid plates, or
      skull base and/or encases the internal carotid artery

Superficial erosion alone of bone/tooth socket by gingival primary
is not sufficient to classify as T4.

Share article

Article information

rID: 12336
System: Head & Neck
Tag: refs, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.