What Is a Gleason Score?

What Is a Gleason Score?


Gleason score is a measure of how aggressive
the cancer is. Gleason was a pathologist who described a grading system on a scale of 0
to 10 with 0 being the least aggressive and 10 being the most aggressive several decades
ago and it is still in use today. Until the development of Oncotype DX prostate, it was
really the only way to tell how aggressive a cancer was and it was a pretty good predictor
of how cancers behave, but not perfect and so what a pathologist looks at a biopsy or
looks at a prostate that has been removed, they assign a score of 0 to 10 to tell the
physician and the patient how aggressive the cancer is. Oncotype DX prostate actually adds
independent additional information beyond Gleason score to be able to tell the degree
of aggressiveness. Some prostate cancers are high risk, aggressive,
and more likely to spread. Others are low risk, least likely to have bad outcomes. The
biopsy says cancer, but current diagnostic tools provide limited information about how
aggressive a man’s individual disease is, so most men decide to treat prostrate cancer
immediately. Once treated, many men experience serious long-term side effects like incontinence
and sexual impotence. Immediate treatment is not always needed, but right now a man
can’t be sure if his cancer is the kind that is likely to require treatment or if he is
okay to wait for now. What if there was a test that could determine how aggressive prostate
cancer is. Genomic health is developing a new test to do just that. By reviewing the
underlying biology of the tumor and using genes from multiple biologic pathways, the
test can predict the aggressiveness of prostate cancer when diagnosed, allowing a man to make
a more informed treatment decision with confidence, taking care of himself with more information
and greater peace of mind.

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