It is a widely diffused opinion that moving backwards in time the moment of the diagnosis of cancer of prostate, so that the tumor is detected earlier than normal, means that the treatment would be more effective than the one adopted in the usual times of diagnosis. For this reason the earlier diagnosis of prostate cancer has become more and more a compulsory target of the modern urologist, at a time of booming of the third age, of increased lifetime expectancy, of significant elevation of prostate cancer rate and of the persistent uncertainty of the efficacy of available treatments. Theoretically the mortality rate of prostate cancer can be reduced by the prevention programs and by the improvements of treatment methods, but the ‘earlier’ diagnosis is certainly an easier and less expensive strategy to achieve the same objective. The authors have evaluated the argyrophilic-nucleolar organizer region (Ag-NOR) proteins on 40 cases of adenocarcinoma of prostate collected through a multicentric program in France and in Italy. The Ag-NOR have been stained with silver technique set up by Ploton and Derenzini while the quantitative index has been evaluated by a semiautomatic system partially commercially available, partially modified by the authors. The conclusions: (a) the Ag-NOR index is a simple and reproducible method; (b) the Ag-NOR staging system corresponds to Gleason’s grading; (c)the Ag-NOR elevation is a reliable marker of increased cell proliferation and is detectable much earlier than the morphologic changes of Gleason’s classification.

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