Understanding Your Pathology Report

Gleason Scoring

During the analysis of a biopsy, the tissue receives a Gleason score. This scoring system numerically measures the abnormality of the glands (groups of cells) in your tissue biopsy.

If the glands look abnormal, the pathologist will give the tissue a score between 3 and 5. If cancer is present the tissue’s Gleason score is determined by adding two patterns of tissue with the most cancer together, this gives a Gleason score between 6 and 10. This scoring helps your doctor determine how aggressive the cancer may be.

Anatomy of Gleason Score


The first number represents the grade with the most present cancer pattern. In this case, there is more grade 3 than grade 4. If the score were 4+3=7, there would be more grade 4 present than grade 3.


The last number is the Gleason sum, which typically ranges from 6-10 when a tumor is present. The higher the score the more likely the cancer will grow and spread quickly.


Reading Your Report

a. Site – Tells which area of the prostate the data was collected from. Letters on the table correspond with the graphic above.

b. Gleason Score – Tells you the pattern of cancer found and which pattern is most present in the tissue.

c. % Pattern 4 – Tells you what percentage of the cancer found (if any) is pattern 4

d. % Involvement – Tells you what percentage of each tissue sample contains cancer.

e. Core Diagram – This diagram represents your tissue core visually. The red section represents the portion of your tissue where tumor was found in.

f. Max Dimension – The max dimension number tells you the length of the tumor in each tissue core.

g. Gross Length – The gross length tells you the full length of each tissue core.

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