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Glossary of Terms

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Aggressive lymphomas

Lymphomas that are fast-growing and generally need to be treated immediately: typically considered intermediate-grade or high-grade lymphomas.

Alemtuzumab

A monoclonal antibody directed against CD52, an antigen (or marker) found on both B and T lymphocytes. The drug is used most often to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia and has been used in the treatment of advanced CTCL. (Campath® is the brand name for Alemtuzumab.)

Allogeneic transplant

A procedure in which a patient receives bone marrow or stem cells donated by another person.

Alopecia

Hair loss.  Alopecia from systemic chemotherapy is almost always temporary; hair grows back when therapy is finished.

Anemia

A shortage of red blood cells, causing weakness and fatigue.

Angiogenesis

The process of developing new blood vessels.

Antiangiogenesis therapies

Drugs that prevent tumors from developing new blood vessels, thereby stopping or limiting tumor growth.

Antibody

A complex protein made by B-lymphocytes that reacts with antigens on toxins, bacteria and some cancer cells and either kills or marks them for removal.

Antiemetic

A drug that reduces or prevents nausea and vomiting.

Antigen

Identifying proteins located on the surface of all cells. The immune system uses antigens to determine whether cells are a necessary part of the body or need to be destroyed.

Apheresis

Process of separation of components of whole blood (white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, stem cells, plasma) performed in a specialized apparatus.

Autologous transplant

A type of bone marrow or stem cell transplantation in which a patient receives his or her own cells.

BCNU

A chemotherapy agent that is used topically in CTCL. (Also known as carmustine).

Bexarotene

Medications in both capsule and gel forms that have been shown to be effective in treating CTCL. (Targretin® [tar-GRET-in] is a name brand of bexarotene [beks-AIR-oh-teen]).

Biologic therapy

Treatment that uses or stimulates the immune system in directing a response against an infection or disease.

Biomarker

A compound (usually a protein) used to measure the presence of a disease.

Biopsy

Removal of tissue for evaluation under a microscope for diagnostic purposes.


Bone marrow

Spongy material found inside the bones containing stem cells that develop into three types of cells:  red blood cells that deliver oxygen to the body and take away carbon dioxide; white blood cells that protect the body from infection; and platelets that help the blood to clot.

Campath®

A monoclonal antibody directed against CD52, a antigen (or marker) found on both B and T lymphocytes. The drug is used most often to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia and has been used in the treatment of advanced CTCL. (Campath® is the brand name for Alemtuzumab).

Cancer

Abnormal cell growth that cannot be controlled by the body’s natural defenses. Cancerous cells can grow and eventually form tumors.

Carmustine

A chemotherapy agent that is used topically in CTCL. (Also known as BCNU).

Catheter (Intravenous access)

A device that is temporarily or permanently placed into a vein that makes it easier to give medications.

Chemotherapy

Treatment with drugs to stop the growth of rapidly dividing cancer cells, including lymphoma cells.

Chemotherapy cycle

Term used to describe the process in which chemotherapy is given, followed by a period of rest in which the body is allowed to recover.

Chemotherapy regimen

Combinations of anticancer drugs given at a certain dose in a specific sequence according to a strict schedule.

Clinical Trial

A research study in which a new treatment is given to patients to determine whether it is safe, more effective or less toxic than current therapies. Clinical trials are an important part of the process of understanding diseases and have been instrumental in providing information to the Food and Drug Administration for approval of new therapies.

Combination chemotherapy

Several drugs given together to increase response rate of certain tumors.

Complete remission (CR)

Term used when all signs of disease have disappeared after treatment.

CT or CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan

This imaging test provides a series of detailed pictures of the inside of the body using an X-ray machine linked to a computer.

Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma (CTCL)

A general term for many lymphomas of the skin including mycosis fungoides, Sézary syndrome, lymphomatoid papulosis, cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma, adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma, peripheral T-cell lymphoma, lymphomatoid granulomatosis, granulomatous slack skin disease, and pagetoid reticulosis, to name a few. All cases of mycosis fungoides are CTCL, but not all CTCLs are mycosis fungoides.

Dermatologist

Physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases.

Disease progression

The terms used if the disease worsens despite treatment (also called treatment failure).

DNA

Abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid, an essential component of genes.

Dose intensity

A term used to describe giving the highest possible doses of drugs over a specific period of time with acceptable side effects.

Durable remission

When a complete response lasts for years.

Electron Beam Therapy

A form of radiation therapy that only treats the superficial portions of the skin. It is highly effective in clearing all forms of lesions of CTCL from the skin. It can be used to treat portions of the skin or the entire skin surface. When used to treat all of the skin it is referred to as total skin electron beam (TSEB) therapy.