Prostate Cancer Gleason Score

What Does the Biopsy Say About Your Prostate Cancer?

What is a Prostate Cancer Gleason Score? A biopsy may be recommended after abnormal results from the standard screen tests, a Digital Rectal Exam combined with a PSA Test. The biopsy is normally performed using transrectal ultrasound guidance. The ultrasound will allow the physician to take distributed samples from the prostate. Usually twelve separate samples are taken. A pathologist will then examine the tissue samples under a microscope to determine whether or not the prostate contains cancerous tissue.

What is a Prostate Cancer Gleason Score? A biopsy may be recommended after abnormal results from the standard screen tests, a Digital Rectal Exam combined with a PSA Test. The biopsy is normally performed using transrectal ultrasound guidance. The ultrasound will allow the physician to take distributed samples from the prostate. Usually twelve separate samples are taken. A pathologist will then examine the tissue samples under a microscope to determine whether or not the prostate contains cancerous tissue.

When cancer is discovered, it is classified by a Prostate Cancer Gleason Score. A Prostate Cancer Gleason Score or Grade helps to determine how aggressively the prostate cancer is likely to behave. The score will help classify the cancer by grading how quickly it it is likely to grow. The score also is a an indicator in how likely it is to spread outside of the prostate gland.

  • The Prostate Cancer Gleason Score score ranges from 2 to 10.
  • To determine the Gleason score, the pathologist uses a microscope to look at the patterns of cells in the prostate tissue.
  • The most common cell pattern is given a grade of 1 (most like normal cells) to 5 (most abnormal).
  • If there is a second most common cell pattern, the pathologist gives it a grade of 1 to 5.
  • The pathologist adds the two most common grades together to make the Gleason score. If only one pattern is seen, the pathologist counts it twice, e.g. 5 + 5 = 10.
  • A high Gleason score (such as 10) means a high-grade prostate tumor.
  • High-grade tumors are more likely than low-grade tumors to grow quickly and spread.
Prostate Cancer Gleason Score

How Does the Pathologist Grade the Prostate Cancer Gleason Score?

Gleason Score 1

The cancerous tissue looks very much like normal prostate cells.

Gleason Score 2-4

Some cells do look like normal prostate cells, other cells do not. Patterns of cells in these grades vary.

Gleason Score 5

The cells appear abnormal and do not look like normal prostate cells. Abnormal cells appear to be scattered haphazardly throughout the prostate.

 NOTE: The pathologist adds the two most common grades together to make the final Gleason score.

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Top Ten Steps - Fight Prostate Cancer

Learn the Top Ten Steps, a guide through knowledge about the prostate, prostate cancer, diagnosis and treatment. Watch our video, introducing Edward Weber, MD. and hear his advice to men just diagnosed with prostate cancer. Get expert advice for your fight against Prostate Cancer.

Remission versus Survival?

A prostate cancer patient who has undergone treatment and shows no evidence of cancer recurrence, (cancer returning), is in remission. A survivor is alive following treatment and may or may not have their cancer return requiring further treatment. Prostate cancer recurrence is determined by monitoring or testing. If you remain in remission for 10-15 years after prostate cancer treatment, it is very unlikely that the cancer will ever return, complete remission. No more treatment.  


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