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Table 2. Regional Lymph Nodes (N)a,b

Oropharynx and Hypopharynx 
NXRegional lymph nodes cannot be assessed.
N0No regional lymph node metastasis.
N1Metastasis in a single ipsilateral lymph node, ≤3 cm in greatest dimension.
N2Metastases in a single ipsilateral lymph node, >3 cm but ≤6 cm in greatest dimension, or in multiple ipsilateral lymph nodes, none >6 cm in greatest dimension, or in bilateral or contralateral lymph nodes, none >6 cm in greatest dimension.
N2aMetastasis in a single ipsilateral lymph node >3 cm but ≤6 cm in greatest dimension.
N2bMetastases in multiple ipsilateral lymph nodes, none >6 cm in greatest dimension.
N2cMetastases in bilateral or contralateral lymph nodes, none >6 cm in greatest dimension.
N3Metastasis in a lymph node >6 cm in greatest dimension.

aReprinted with permission from AJCC: Pharynx. In: Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, et al., eds.: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 7th ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2010, pp 41-56.
bMetastases at level VII are considered regional lymph node metastases.