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Fox Chase Gleason scores better predict prostate cancer's recurrence after radiation
Date:10/5/2011

MIAMA BEACH, FL (October 4, 2011)In a new study led by Fox Chase Cancer Center radiation oncologist Natasha Townsend, M.D., researchers have found that Gleason scores determined by pathologists at Fox Chase Cancer Center more accurately predict the risk of recurrence than Gleason scores from referring institutions. She presented the new research at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology on Monday, October 3.

When a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, his tumor is assigned a Gleason score a number between 2 and 10 indicating the aggressiveness of the cancer and likelihood that the cancer will spread to other parts of his body. In general, Gleason scores 2 to 6 are considered low, 7 is intermediate, and 8 to 10 are high. A patients Gleason score is used to make important treatment decisions.

Townsend and her team looked at the records of 1,649 men who had undergone radiation therapy at Fox Chase between 1994 and 2007. Fox Chase pathologists reviewed the cases of every patient referred to the Center from another institution and determined the Gleason score, so Townsend compared those scores to scores from pathologists at the referring institutions (e.g. urologists, private pathologists' offices, and other centers that specialize in prostate cancer treatment).

A minor increase or decrease in Gleason score can significantly alter a patient's treatment, says Townsend. "We learned that twenty percent, or one in five men, with a Gleason score 7 by the referring institution were determined to have a Gleason score 2 to 6 at Fox Chase," Townsend added. "This is important because not only is the prognosis much better but, it changes what treatment might be recommended. For example, patients with Gleason 6 disease are more likely to be offered brachytherapy (i.e. prostate radioactive seeding) and uncommonly treated with androgen deprivation therapy, which strongly impacts quality of life."

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Contact: Diana Quattrone
diana.quattrone@fccc.edu
215-728-7784
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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