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Cancer Genetics

Cell Grading

01/18/2005

Question:

How important is it when a cell is in grade 4 ?

Answer:

If I understand your question correctly, you are asking about the pathology of the cells found, perhaps as part of a cancer. Cells are "graded" or evaluated based on how closely they resemble a normal, non-cancerous cell. Cells that look only slightly different from normal cells are called grade one, and so on up the classification. Cells that are grade four have lost many if not most of the characteristics typical for that specific type of cell, for example breast cells, or liver cells or colon cells.  Generally, this is interpreted to mean that the higher the grade of the cell, the more abnormal the cell looks. This does not necessarily mean it is cancerous, as non-cancerous cells can be graded as well, but generally the grading system is used for cancer cells.  It is important to make sure you discuss your questions with your doctor, as this may indicate that a specific treatment may be appropriate.

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Response by:

Duane D Culler, PhD, MS Duane D Culler, PhD, MS
Clinical Instructor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University