Tag Archive for: prostate-specific antigen

PSA vs Gleason Score | What’s the Difference?

PSA vs Gleason Score | What’s the Difference? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Prostate cancer expert, Dr. Rana McKay, explains the difference between PSA blood levels and a Gleason score and discusses how these measurements impact prostate cancer care.

Dr. Rana McKay is a medical oncologist at UC San Diego Health and an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Learn more about Dr. McKay, here.
 
 

Related Resources:

Managing the Side Effects of Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatment

Tools for Choosing the Right Prostate Cancer Treatment Approach


Transcript:

Katherine Banwell:

We received a patient question prior to the program. What is the difference between my PSA level and Gleason score?  

Dr. Rana McKay:

Yeah. So, very good question. So, Gleason score is something that is determined based off a pathologic assessment. So, it’s basically, you know, a biopsy is done from the prostate or the – the surgical specimen from the removal of the prostate is looked at under the microscope and a Gleason score is based off what something looks like underneath a microscope and ideally, a Gleason score is given really only for the prostate – for tissue derived from the prostate.  

So, if somebody has a bone biopsy for example or a lymph node biopsy, they’re not going to necessarily get a glycine score per se. It’s been – been validated from the prostate itself and ideally, also, an untreated prostate. So, if somebody has you know had radiation therapy and then has a biopsy, the Gleason score there is – there should not necessarily be a notation of what a Gleason score is. It’s really an untreated prostate. Now PSA is prostate-specific antigen, and it’s a protein that’s made from the prostate gland, and it’s found in circulation. PSA doesn’t hurt any – the actual, you know, molecule itself is – is innocuous. It doesn’t hurt anything. It’s just a marker of, sometimes can be a marker of burden of disease in prostate cancer, and I think sometimes we as clinicians do, you know, you know a disservice to some patients because I think we fixate – we can fixate a lot on PSA. 

But PSA is not the whole story, and it’s one factor of several factors that we take into account in determining whether someone needs treatment or whether a treatment is working or not working. 

Thriving With Prostate Cancer: What You Should Know About Care and Treatment Resource Guide

Download Guide

Mckay_Thrive_Downloadable_guide

Download Guide

See More from Thrive Prostate Cancer

What Are PSA and PSMA?

What Are PSA and PSMA? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Prostate cancer experts use PSA and PSMA tests in different ways in diagnosis and treatment.  Dr. Heather Cheng from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance explains what PSA and PSMA measure and how the tests are used in prostate cancer care.

See More from Prostate Cancer TelemEDucation

Related Programs:

What Is the PROMISE Study for Prostate Cancer Patients?

What Is the PROMISE Study for Prostate Cancer Patients?

Prostate Cancer Treatment Tools and Advancements

Prostate Cancer Treatment Tools and Advancements

Are Mobile-Optimized Tools Making an Impact in Prostate Cancer?


Transcript:

Sherea Cary:

What’s the prostate-specific antigen?

Dr. Heather Cheng:

Yes, that’s a great question. So the prostate-specific antigen is basically a protein marker or something that is detected in the blood that is made by the prostate and can help us figure out if it’s too high, whether somebody might have prostate cancer actually. It can be useful to figure out who has prostate cancer, who doesn’t, but it’s more useful in helping when somebody has a prostate cancer diagnosis to help monitor what is going on with the disease, is the treatment working, is the treatment not working, and in that situation, it’s especially useful, it can be a little tricky, and the distinguishing between who has cancer, who doesn’t it kind of gets a B-, it’s the better than what we have, but it sort of is a little tricky.

Sherea Cary:

Okay. So…what is prostate-specific membrane antigen?

Dr. Heather Cheng:

Yeah, so prostate-specific membrane antigen is similar to prostate-specific antigen, except for that it sits on the outside of cells that are prostate-related, or prostate cancer cells, or prostate, sometimes normal prostate cells, but it’s really useful now when people have had treatment for their prostate such as surgery to remove their prostate, but maybe their PSA or that prostate-specific member and antigen test and their blood is starting to go up, and that makes us concern that there is more cancer there, and so then we can do scans to see where is the…where in the body are the cells that express prostate-specific membrane antigen. So, kind of think about it as like a tag on the outside of the cell that says, “Hey, I’m kind of prostate-related, and so we can look in the body for cells that have that marker, the other reason it’s important is because we now have treatments that are targeted, they’re kind of smart bonds where they deliver radiation to cells that have that marker…that prostate-specific membrane antigen. So, it’s exciting for two reasons, one is to find out where the cancer might be, and the second is, if we know where it is, can we deliver treatment just to those areas and not to the healthy cells.