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Cancer Control. 2010 Oct;17(4):214-22.

Premalignant and malignant prostate lesions: pathologic review.

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Department of Pathology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.



High-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN) is currently the only recognized premalignant lesion of prostatic carcinoma.


This review article discusses HGPIN, its link to prostatic adenocarcinoma, and the significance of its presence on needle biopsy. The criteria and clinical impact of the diagnosis of atypical small acinar proliferation on needle biopsy are reviewed. Certain subtypes of prostate cancer that are not associated with HGPIN are of clinical relevance, and the unique clinicopathologic features of these subtypes are discussed. Histologic variants of prostatic adenocarcinoma with distinct cell types are also described.


HGPIN is the only known pathologic factor currently available to distinguish which patients may be at risk for detecting carcinoma on repeat biopsy. Histologic variants are recognized due to the inference of a particular Gleason grade pattern associated with the cell type, hence affecting prognosis. Typically, pure forms of these histologic variants are associated with worse prognosis due to the associated high Gleason grades.


HGPIN has a strong association with acinar-type prostatic adenocarcinoma. HGPIN and acinar-type prostatic adenocarcinoma both show similar molecular alterations, providing further evidence of their association.

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