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Grading of Prostate Cancer

What is grading of prostate cancer?

Another step in the diagnostic process is grading the cancer cells--taking a measurement of how fast the tumor is likely to grow and spread. Grading is done in the laboratory with cells taken from the prostate gland during biopsy. The cancer cells are measured by how closely they look like normal cells under a microscope.

What is the Gleason System for grading cancer?

The most common way of grading prostate cancer is the Gleason System. This grading system is based on a number range from 2 to 10. The lower the number, the lower the grade, and the slower the cancer is growing. The higher the score, the higher the grade of the tumor. High-grade tumors grow more quickly than low-grade tumors, and are more likely to spread to other parts of the body:

  • Grades of 6 or less mean that the cancer cells look fairly similar to your normal cells, and the cancer is likely to be less aggressive.

  • Grades of 7 are in the intermediate range. This means that the cancer cells do not look like normal cells, and are more likely to be aggressive and grow faster.

  • Grades 8 to 10 indicate that the cancer cells are more likely to be very aggressive in growth.

Online Medical Reviewer: Alteri, Rick, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Berry, Judith, PhD, APRN
Last Review Date: 8/21/2012
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