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Glossary of Terms

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Sézary Syndrome

The leukemic variant of CTCL. Patients usually present with SS, but rarely patients with early stage mycosis fungoides develop SS. The presenting features of SS include widespread redness and scaling of the skin (erythroderma), often with severe itching. Lymph nodes are enlarged and the malignant T-cells found in the skin are also found circulating in the bloodstream.

Stable disease

The disease does not get better or worse following therapy.

Stage

The extent of cancer at the time of diagnosis. It discriminates if the cancer is localized to its site of origin, spread to neighboring regions or distant sites of the body.

Standard therapy

The most widely used primary therapy.

Stem Cell Therapy

A therapy used in experimental stages in the treatment of CTCL.

Synergism

The term used when two or more drugs given together provide a better anti-cancer effect than expected from the additive effects from the medications alone.

Systemic Chemotherapy

A chemotherapy with single agents along with combination chemotherapy is usually reserved for advanced stages (Stage III and IV) that are recalcitrant to other forms of therapy and administered orally or intravenously.

Targeted therapy

A treatment that is directed to specific genes or proteins (targets) unique or abnormally expressed in a cancer cell.

Targretin®

Targretin® (tar-GRET-in) is a name brand of the medication bexarotene (beks-AIR-oh-teen). It is available in capsule and gel form.

Thrombocytopenia

A shortage of platelets in the blood, which reduces the ability of the blood to clot.

Thymus gland

A gland located behind the sternum (breastbone) that enhances the reproduction and development of lymphocytes.  T-lymphocytes are processed in the thymus.

Topical Nitrogen Mustard

A medication used topically to treat CTCL. Also known as mechlorethamine.

Topical Steroids

High potency topical steroids have been shown to have activity in CTCL, and induce clearing in early stage disease (Stage I-A and I-B). Topical steroids are easy to apply and are not associated with many complications like those seen with other skin based treatments for CTCL.

Toxicities

The unwanted side effects of cancer therapies, such as a decrease in blood cells, nausea and vomiting, and hair loss.

TSEB (Total skin electron beam)

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. Also known as electron beam therapy.

Tumor

An abnormal mass or swelling of tissue.  Tumors may occur anywhere in the body.  A tumor may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

UVB, broadband

A form of phototherapy that uses ultraviolet light involving the entire range of UVB wavelengths.

UVB, narrowband

A form of phototherapy that concentrates ultraviolet output in a narrow range of UVB wavelengths. It can be an effective treatment for patch-stage CTCL as well as other skin diseases.

Vaccine

A substance or group of substances meant to stimulate the immune system to respond.  A vaccine can help the body recognize and destroy cancer cells.  Lymphoma vaccines often combine cancer antigens with a substance to stimulate the patient’s own natural defenses to fight the disease.  These vaccines are custom-made for each patient using a sample of tumor obtained from the patient’s lymph nodes.

X-ray

Radiation that is used in low doses to provide images of the inside of the body and in high doses to treat cancer.