Glossary of Terms, Treatments and Side effects Mentioned in A Cancer ABC Blog

AACR – American Association of Cancer Researchers, the largest professional association of cancer researchers.

Abiraterone Acetate- aka Zytiga- An advancedhormonal treatment for men who are castrate resistant.  It halts the production of androgens from the adrenals and the prostate tumors.  It needs to be supplemented with a steroid like prednisone.

ADT (Hormone Therapy) -  Treatment for cancer that either prevents the body from producing various hormones like estrogen or testosterone or that blocks the ability of the cancer from utilizing hormones that the body produces.

Adrenals or Adrenal Glands- Glands located above the kidneys that make steriodal hormones like testosterone. 

Advanced Prostate Cancer - Prostate cancer that has left the prostate gland or that has metastasized to an area other than the prostate gland.

Alkaline Phosphatase -  An enzyme in the blood that can serve as a bio-marker for bone lesions and other organ issues.  

Apalutimide - An investigational drug that, that has the same mode of action as Xtandi, it blocks androgens from acting on prostate cancer cells.

APL- blood test used to determine alkaline phosphatase levels. 

American Urological Association - See AUA.

Avelumab – Infusion drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of Merkel Cell Carcinoma (see also Bavencio).

AUA (American Urological Association) - Professional organization of Urologists.

Bavencio – Trade name for avelumab

BCR - See Bio Chemical Recurrence.

Bio Chemical Recurrence (aka PSA only Recurrence and BCR) - A prostate cancer recurrence after definitive primary treatment where there is no identifiable evidence of a distant metastases, but the PSA numbers climb. 

BRACA1 and BRACA2 -  Genes that when mutated often have a role in increasing the risk for developing both specific cancers as well as some cancer syndromes.

Castrate Resistant Prostate Cancer-  Prostate cancer that no longer responds to primary hormone treatment (ADT).

Dendreon - The pharmaceutical company that makes Provenge (sipulecel-T).

Durable Response – Used to describe when a drug or treatment has an effect (as defined by a research protocol) on a disease and lasts for a period of time.  The effect could be a change in a bio-marker, a scan or a patient's reported outcomes.

European Medicines Agency – (aka EMA) – A European Union agency responsible for the safety of medications.  Its main responsibility is the protection and promotion of public and animal health, through the evaluation and supervision of medicines for human and veterinary use in the EU.

Food and Drug Administration (aka FDA) - The FDA is a US federal agency responsible for protecting and promoting the public health through the control and supervision of food safety, tobacco, supplements, vaccines, medical devices, medications, cosmetics, animal food and veterinary products.

Hormone Therapy - See ADT.

HBOC - See Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome.

Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (HBOC) - A multiple cancer family syndrome where we see unusual numbers of women diagnosed with both breast and ovarian cancers. 

Ipilimumab (trade name Yervoy) – An immunotherapy approved for the treatment of Melanoma – an aggressive skin cancer that results from mutations of pigmentation cells of the skin. It is in clinical trials for treating a number of other cancers.

mCRPC - See metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer.

Metastatic Castrate Resistant Prostate Cancer (mCRPC)- Prostate cancer that no longer responds to primary hormone therapy (ADT).

Merkel Cell Carcinoma -  A rare and very aggressive skin cancer.

Metastases - The spread of the cancer from its original organ to a distant site in the body.

Myriad Genetics - The makers of a genetic test know as Prolaris that is used to predict the aggressiveness of prostate cancer using the slides from a diagnostic biopsy.

National Cancer Institute (aka NCI) - The United States government's principle place for cancer research.

NCI -  See National Cancer Institute.

Orphan Cancers -  Orphan cancers are rare cancers that affect a small percentage of the population.  Generally, it is assumed that the cost of drug development and the inability to test them on a large enough populations makes drug development economically unreasonable without subsidies.

Orphan Drug – A drug designed to treat an orphan disease.

Pembrolizumab (aka Keytruda) – An immunotherapy used to treat melanoma.

Prolaris Test - A genetic test that evaluates 46 genes used to predict how aggressive is a prostate cancer.  Test uses biopsy slides to help a man make a treatment decision.

Prostate Cancer Research Program (aka PCRP) - A United States Federal prostate cancer funding program funded annually by the Congress by special allocation.

PSA - See prostate specific antigen.

PSA Only Recurrence - See Bio Chemical Recurrence.

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)-  An antigen normally secreted in small amounts by the epithelial cells of the prostate gland.  It can serve as a bio-marker for prostate cancer when it is present at higher levels in men with a prostate gland or in men without a prostate gland who continue to have measurable levels. Caution- it is an imprecise measure as higher levels do not mean that cancer is present nor does very low levels mean that cancer isn't present. 

Provenge (aka Sipuleucel-T) - An FDA approved prostate cancer vaccine used to treat men who are castrate resistant and have minimal symptoms. It is best used as early as possible while the disease burden is light.  It does not immediately affect PSA or disease progression, but it has demonstrated a survival advantage.   

Radical Prostatectomy (RP) - A surgical procedure which involves the removal of the prostate gland.  The surgery can be performed as open surgery, laparoscopic or with robotics.  

Rare Cancers - Cancers that are diagnosed in small number of people.  They could also include rare sub-types of more commonly diagnosed classes of cancers.  Usually diagnosed at later stages than more common cancers.

Retrospective Study - Studies that look back at data.  These types of studies are not considered the highest level of evidence because the studies were not designed to control for the questions being evaluated. 

RP- See radical prostatectomy.

Sipuleucel-T (generic name for Provenge) - See Provenge.

Tumors - An abnormal mass of tissue. 

Testis - Male sex organs that make androgens like testosterone.

Yervoy (generic name of ipilimumab) – An immunotherapy approved for the treatment of Melanoma.

Zytiga - See abiraterone acetate.