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What are the different types of Gleason patterns?

Marc B. Garnick, MD
Hematology & Oncology
Here is a general overview of the types of Gleason patterns:
  • Well differentiated cells correspond to Gleason 1 and 2. The cells are generally small, of fairly uniform shape, and tightly packed together. Cells display more varied and irregular shapes and are loosely packed.
  • Moderately differentiated cells correspond to Gleason 3. Cells are even more irregular in size and shape and are more dispersed; some cells are fused, and cell borders are less distinct.
  • Poorly differentiated corresponds to Gleason 4 and 5. Many cells are fused into irregular masses; some cells (those darkly shaded) have begun to invade the connective tissue that separates cells. Most of the tumor consists of irregular masses that have invaded the connective tissue.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.