Current practice of Gleason grading among genitourinary pathologists

Lars Egevad, William C. Allsbrook, Jonathan I. Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


There is consensus that the Gleason system should be used for grading of prostate cancer. However, a number of controversial issues remain as regards how this grading is applied. A questionnaire was sent to 91 genitourinary pathologists in countries around the world with the purpose to survey current practice of Gleason grading. The response rate was 74%, including 43 North American pathologists and 24 from other continents. Of all participants, only 13% and 36%, respectively, ever diagnosed a Gleason score (GS) of 2 to 3 or 4 on needle biopsies (NBX), and 88% of those who did so assigned a GS 4 to <1% of cancers. Cribriform Gleason pattern (GP) 3 was acknowledged by 88% but a majority of them would classify ≤20% of cribriform patterns as GP 3. One third only accepted cribriform or fusion patterns as GP 4, but two thirds also included incomplete or poorly defined glands. For GP 5 to be identified on NBX, 83% required clusters of individual cells, strands, or nests seen at less than x40 lens magnification. Only 26% defined GS on NBX as primary + tertiary GP, and a majority would mention a tertiary pattern separately. For NBX, global or highest GS was reported by 40% and 10%, respectively, whereas 46% only gave a separate GS for each individual NBX core. In conclusion, there is a need to standardize practical application of Gleason grading both in terms of interpretation of patterns as well as how grading is reported. Our survey data provide information to general pathologists about the most common grading practices among genitourinary pathologists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-9
Number of pages5
JournalHuman pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Human
  • Male
  • Prostatic neoplasms/classification
  • Prostatic neoplasms/grading
  • Prostatic neoplasms/pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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