What are the types of prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer types are categorized into two based on the growth such as:
- Aggressive, or fast growing: The tumor can develop rapidly with advanced prostate cancer, and can spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones.
- Nonaggressive, or slow growing: The tumor either doesn’t grow or grows very little over time
Adenocarcinomas constitute about 95-99% of all types of prostate cancer. Majority of the adenocarcinomas are acinar, while others are ductal. Acinar adenocarcinomas form in acini cells, increasing the levels of Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA). These cells form clusters and line glands in the prostate that secrete and produce the fluid which eventually becomes semen. On the other hand, ductal adenocarcinoma begins in the cells that line the tubes and ducts of prostate gland and does not always effect PSA levels potentially making it more difficult to detect. These adenocarcinomas spread more rapidly than acinar adenocarcinomas.
Prostate cancer sarcoma grows in soft tissues account for less than 0.1% of all cases of prostate cancer. These cancers can grow and spread as soft tissues are present all over the body. Sarcomas develop in the prostate’s lymphatic vessels, blood vessels, and smooth muscles. When these cancers spread to other parts of the body, the most common place to find these is in the lungs. The two most common prostate sarcomas are leiomyosarcomas and rhabdomyosarcomas. These may affect men between the ages of 35 and 60. Prostate sarcomas are difficult to detect, and doesn’t have any change in the levels of PSA.
Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs)
Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) also referred to as carcinoids are located in the neuroendocrine system, which consists of the nerve and gland cells responsible for hormone production and release into the bloodstream. Such tumors develop gradually and most often begins in the digestive system (GI tract) before moving elsewhere, including the prostate. NETs are very rare and have no effect on PSA levels and seem to be inherited in nature. Symptoms such as wheezing, diarrhea, dizziness, fast heartbeat, and flushing of the skin can be observed as these tumors can begin to secrete their own hormones referred to as carcinoid syndrome.
Small cell carcinoma
Prostate small cell carcinoma is another type of neuroendocrine cancer that account for less than 1% of all cases of prostate cancer. These are made of small round cells and is more common than NETs. Small cell carcinoma is very aggressive and does not induce changes in PSA levels. When the cancer is detected, the disease has already metastasized and exceeded the stage for early treatment methods such as hormone therapy. The prognosis of this type is very low presenting with an average life expectancy of less than a year.
Transitional cell carcinoma
Transitional cell carcinoma also known as urothelial cancer, occurs in the structures surrounding the prostate, including the cells that lines the urethra or bladder. Prostate cancer can develop when the primary urethra and bladder tumors break off and start spreading locally. This form of cancer can be rare when it starts in the prostate and then spread to the bladder. These can show some typical symptoms such as blood in the urine or difficulty while urinating. Advanced treatment options may be required when fighting against this type of cancer depending on how far it has spread.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is rare and fast-growing type of prostate cancer. This doesn’t occur in the cells of the gland like adenocarcinoma rather begins in the flat cells that cover the gland itself. It is very aggressive type of prostate cancer.