OPINION: Does true Gleason pattern 3 merit its cancer descriptor?

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Nearly five decades following its conception, the Gleason grading system remains a cornerstone in the prognostication and management of patients with prostate cancer. In the past few years, a debate has been growing whether Gleason score 3 + 3 = 6 prostate cancer is a clinically significant disease. Clinical, molecular and genetic research is addressing the question whether well characterized Gleason score 3 + 3 = 6 disease has the ability to affect the morbidity and quality of life of an individual in whom it is diagnosed. The consequences of treatment of Gleason score 3 + 3 = 6 disease are considerable; few men get through their treatments without sustaining some harm. Further modification of the classification of prostate cancer and dropping the label cancer for Gleason score 3 + 3 = 6 disease might be warranted.

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