Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) - An aggressive (fast-growing) type of
leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many lymphoblasts (immature white blood
cells) are found in the blood and bone marrow; also called acute lymphocytic
Adjuvant setting/therapy/care – A treatment given in addition to the primary,
main or initial treatment. An example of adjuvant therapy is the use of
chemotherapy after surgery or radiotherapy where detectable disease has been
removed, but where there remains a statistical risk of relapse due to
undetectable disease. If known disease is left behind following surgery, then
further treatment is not considered to be adjuvant.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) - A disease caused by the
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). People with AIDS are at an increased risk
for developing certain cancers and for infections that usually occur only in
individuals with a weak immune system.
Analgesic - A drug that reduces pain. Analgesics include aspirin,
acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.
Androgen - A type of hormone that promotes the development and
maintenance of male sex characteristics.
Angiogenesis - The formation of blood vessels from pre-existing vascular beds.
It is a multistep process that is essential normal function, and plays a role in
numerous pathological conditions including cancer development and
Anti-emetic - A drug that is effective against vomiting and nausea. Anti-emetics are typically used to treat motion sickness and the side effects of opioid
analgesics, general anesthetics, and chemotherapy directed against cancer.
B-cell - A type of immune cell that makes proteins, called antibodies, which
bind to microorganisms and other foreign substances, and help fight infections.
A B-cell is a type of white blood cell; also called B-lymphocyte.
BCR-Abl kinase – A protein made from pieces of two genes that are joined
together. It is found in most patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML),
and in some patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or acute
myelogenous leukemia (AML). Inside the leukemia cells, the ABL gene from
chromosome 9 joins to the BCR gene on chromosome 22 to form the BCR-Abl
fusion gene, which makes the BCR-Abl fusion protein.
Bioinformatics - The science of using computers, databases, and mathematics
to organize and analyze large amounts of biological, medical, and health
information. Information may come from many sources, including patient
statistics, tissue specimens, genetics research, and clinical trials.
Biospecimen - Samples of material, such as urine, blood, tissue, cells, DNA,
RNA, and protein from humans, animals, or plants. Biospecimens are stored in a
biorepository and are used for laboratory research. If the samples are from
people, medical information may also be stored along with a written consent to
use the samples in laboratory studies.
Biomarker - A biological molecule found in blood, other body fluids, or tissues
that is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or of a condition or disease. A
biomarker may be used to see how well the body responds to a treatment for a
disease or condition; also called molecular marker and signature molecule.
Bisphosphonate – A drug or substance used to treat hypercalcemia
(abnormally high blood calcium) and bone pain caused by some types of cancer.
Forms of bisphosphonates are also used to treat osteoporosis and for bone
imaging. Bisphosphonates inhibit a type of bone cell that breaks down bone;
also called diphosphonate.
BRCA1/2 (Breast Cancer Resistance Genes 1 and 2) - Genes that normally
help to suppress cell growth. A person who inherits certain mutations (changes)
in a BRCA1 gene has a higher risk of getting breast, ovarian, prostate, and other
types of cancer.
Cancer - A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and
can invade nearby tissues. Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the
body through the blood and lymph systems. There are several main types of
cancer. Carcinoma is a cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or
cover internal organs. Sarcoma is a cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat,
muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue. Leukemia is a
cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow, and causes
large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood.
Lymphoma and multiple myeloma are cancers that begin in the cells of the
immune system. Central nervous system cancers are cancers that begin in the
tissues of the brain and spinal cord; also called malignancy.
Carcinogen - Any substance that causes cancer.
Chemoprevention - The use of drugs, vitamins, or other agents to try to reduce
the risk of, or delay the development or recurrence of, cancer.
Chemotherapy - The use of different drugs to kill or slow the growth of cancer
Chromosome - Part of a cell that contains genetic information. Except for
sperm and eggs, all human cells contain 46 chromosomes.
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) - A slowly progressing disease in
which too many white blood cells (not lymphocytes) are made in the bone
marrow. Also called chronic granulocytic leukemia and chronic myeloid
Clinical trial - A type of research study that tests how well new medical
approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening,
prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease. Also called clinical study.
Clinical trial phase - A part of the clinical research process that answers
specific questions about whether treatments that are being studied work and
are safe. Phase I trials test the best way to give a new treatment and the best
dose. Phase II trials test whether a new treatment has an effect on the disease.
Phase III trials compare the results of people taking a new treatment with the
results of people taking the standard treatment. Phase IV trials are done using
thousands of people after a treatment has been approved and marketed, to
check for side effects that were not seen in the Phase III trial.
Colonoscopy - Examination of the inside of the colon using a colonoscope,
inserted into the rectum. A colonoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a
light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be
checked under a microscope for signs of disease.
Computed tomography (CT) - A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the
body taken from different angles. The pictures are created by a computer linked
to an x-ray machine. Also called CAT scan, computerized axial tomography
scan, and computerized tomography.
Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma - Any of a group of T-cell non-Hodgkin’s
lymphomas that begin in the skin as an itchy, red rash that can thicken or form
a tumor. The most common types are mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome.
Cyberknife - Is a frameless robotic radiosurgery system used for treating
benign tumors, malignant tumors and other medical conditions. The system is a
method of delivering radiotherapy using a computer, with the intention of
targeting the lesion more accurately than standard radiotherapy.