The Gleason Score

The Gleason Score

A ‘Gleason’ score is given after a pathologist has examined under a microscope cancerous tissue obtained from the needle biopsy. The cells identified are given a grade number from 1 to 5, depending on the abnormality of the cells, 1 being the lowest, 5 the highest. The grades of the two most common patterns are added together to give a score from 2 to 10. The higher the score, the more aggressive and fast-growing the cancer.

  • A Gleason score of 2 – 5 is now rarely reported
  • A Gleason score of 6 (cells are well differentiated) is ‘favourable’
  • A Gleason score of 7 (cells are moderately differentiated) is ‘average’
  • A Gleason Score of 8 – 10 (cells are poorly differentiated) is ‘adverse’.

Gleason Patterns

The consultant will give you a total score out of 10, which should be split down as two numbers out of 5: for example, 4+3. The first number is the predominant grade, so a score of 4+3=7, for example, is likely to prove slightly more aggressive than a score of 3+4=7.



Diagram of Gleason patterns grades 1-5. 
Grade 5 is the most aggressive.