OHSU

Glossary

Alopecia:

Loss of hair, a common side-effect of radiation therapy and some chemotherapies for brain tumors.

Anaplastic:

A change in the structure of the cells associated with a higher-grade tumor.

Anesthesia:

The loss of sensitivity to pain.

Anesthesiologist:

A physician trained in the management of anesthetic medications and in the care of respiratory and cardiovascular support during an anesthetic procedure.

Anesthesiology:

The branch of medicine which deals with the relief of pain and with the administration of medication to relieve pain during surgery.

Angiography:

The X-ray visualization of the internal anatomy of the body and blood vessels.

Antibody:

A protein produced by white blood cells in response to an antigen. It is part of the immune response.

Antiemetic:

A medication that helps to stop or control nausea and vomiting.

Antigen:

A substance, usually a protein, that reacts with a specific antibody and stimulates an immune response.

Artery:

One of the large blood vessels of arterial circulation carrying blood from the heart to the arterioles.

Astrocytoma:

A primary tumor of the brain composed of astrocytes and characterized by slow growth, cyst formation, invasion of surrounding structures and the possible development of a malignant glioblastoma within the tumor mass.

Audiology:

A field of research devoted to the study of hearing.

Audiogram:

A chart showing the sensitivity of an individual’s hearing as indicated by the ability to hear sounds and to distinguish different speech sounds.

Biopsy:

The removal of a small piece of tissue from a brain tumor or other part of the body for microscopic examination to confirm diagnosis, estimate prognosis, or follow the course of a disease.

Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB):

An anatomical-physiological feature of the brain that consists of special cells which line the walls of the blood vessels in the brain. These cells are called "endothelial cells." The barrier separates the parenchyma of the central nervous system from blood. The blood-brain barrier functions in preventing or slowing the passage of various chemical compounds, radioactive ions, and disease-causing organisms, such as viruses, from the blood into the central nervous system.

Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption (BBBD):

The transient opening of the blood-brain barrier for the delivery of intra-arterial chemotherapy.

Brain:

The portion of the central nervous system contained within the cranium. It consists of the cerebrum, cerebellum, pons, medulla and midbrain. Specialized cells in its mass of convoluted, soft, gray, or white tissue coordinate and regulate the functions of the central nervous system.

Brainstem Glioma:

A primary brain tumor in the portion of the brain comprising the medulla, pons, and mesencephalon.

Brain Tumor:

An abnormal growth of tissue (neoplasm) in the brain that is usually invasive but does not spread beyond the brain or spinal cord.

Cancer:

A neoplasm characterized by the uncontrolled growth of anaplastic cells that tend to invade surrounding tissue. Each cancer is distinguished by the nature, site, or clinical course of the lesion.

Catheter:

A hollow, flexible tube that can be inserted into a vessel or cavity of the body to withdraw or instill fluids.

Central Nervous System (CNS):

Consists of the brain and spinal cord. The CNS processes information to and from the peripheral nervous system, and is the main network of coordination and control for the entire body.

Central Nervous System (CNS) Lymphoma:

Lymphoma tumor that is contained in the brain and/or spinal cord and not found anywhere else in the body (see Primary Central Nervous System Tumor).

Cerebral Spinal Fluid:

The fluid that flows through and protects the brain and the spinal cord. It circulates through the ventricles and the subarachnoid space.

Chemotherapy:

The treatment of infection or disease by the use of chemical drugs.

Clinician:

A practitioner trained and involved in patient care.

Clinical Research:

The testing of new treatments in humans to determine their results.

Cognitive Function:

An intellectual process by which one becomes aware of, perceives or comprehends ideas. It involves all aspects of perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering.

Craniotomy:

A surgical opening into the skull that is performed to relieve intra-cranial pressure, control bleeding or remove a tumor.

CT (Computerized Axial Tomography):

An X-ray device linked to a computer to attain a series of detailed visualizations of the tissues of the brain.

Cyst:

A fluid-filled mass, usually enclosed by a membrane.

Debulk:

A surgical procedure to decrease the mass effect of a tumor by removing a portion of the tumor.

Edema:

Accumulation of fluid causing swelling.

Endothelial Cells:

Cells that line the inside of blood vessels.

Germ Cell Tumor:

Tumors from cells which are present early in development.

Glioma:

Any of the largest group of primary tumors of the brain that are composed of malignant glial cells.

Glioblastoma Multiforme:

A malignant, rapidly growing tumor of the cerebrum or, occasionally, of the spinal cord. The lesion spreads with pseudo-podlike projections and is highly invasive.

Hematology-Oncology:

Medical specialty dealing with blood and tumors.

Informed consent:

The process in which a patient learns about and understands the purpose of a clinical trial and then agrees to participate (or not). This process includes a document defining what a patient must know about the potential benefits and risks of therapy before being able to undergo it knowledgeably. Informed consent is required by regulated studies. A patient who signs an informed consent form and enters a clinical trial is still free to leave the trial at any time and can receive other available medical care.

Intra-arterial:

Within the artery (such as with chemotherapy, which is administered directly into the artery).

Intravenous:

Within a vein.

Lumbar puncture:

Spinal tap using a sterile needle to collect cerebral spinal fluid from the lower back for examination.

Lymphoma:

Tumor of a type of white blood cell.

Malignant Tumor:

A neoplasm (abnormal growth of new tissue) that tends to grow, invade and metastasize.

Mannitol:

A sugar solution that performs as an osmotic diuretic (see Osmosis).

Metastasis:

The process by which tumor cells are spread to distant parts of the body.

Monoclonal Antibodies (mAb):

Biologic response modifiers. Chemicals or radiation is tagged to the MAB and delivered directly to the tumor cells. Or the MAB itself might be capable of tumor cell destruction.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging):

A scanning device that uses a magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to assemble an image of detailed visualizations of tissue of the brain.

Necrosis:

Dead cells which are a common feature with glioblastoma.

Neoplasm:

An abnormal growth of new tissue which may be benign or malignant.

Neurology:

The field of medicine that deals with the nervous system and its disorders.

Neuro-Oncology:

The specialized study and treatment of brain tumors.

Neuropsychology:

The specialized study and treatment of the ailments of the mind and mental process caused by disease of the central nervous system.

Neuro-Radiology:

The specialized use of CT and MRI for the diagnosis of diseases of the nervous system.

Neurosurgeon:

A physician who specializes in surgery of the nervous system.

Nurse Practitioner (NP):

A registered nurse with an advance-practice degree and advanced training in a particular area of health care.

Oligodendroglioma:

A primary brain tumor composed of nonneural ectodermal cells that usually form part of the supporting connective tissue around nerve cells.

Ommaya reservoir:

A device with a fluid reservoir that is surgically implanted under the scalp with a catheter into a ventricle of the brain. It is used to give medication into the CSF and to remove samples of spinal fluid.

Oncology:

The branch of medicine concerned with the study of tumors.

Ocular Lymphoma:

Lymphoma cells found in the vitreous of the eyes.

Outcomes Data:

Data collected to evaluate the effects of treatment. In the BBB Program, some of the data we track to evaluate how our patients are doing are tumor response, survival, quality of life and cognitive function.

Ophthalmology:

The branch of medicine concerned with the study of the physiology, anatomy, and pathology of the eye, and the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the eye.

Osmosis:

The movement of a solvent, such as water, through a semipermeable membrane from a solution that has a lower solute concentration to one that has a higher solute concentration. The membrane is impermeable to the solute but is permeable to the solvent. The movement across the membrane continues until the concentrations of the solutions equalize.

Palliative care:

Care for a patient by support and maintaining the best quality of life without active treatment for his/her disease.

Pathology:

A study of the characteristics, causes and effects of disease to determine a diagnosis.

Pediatrician:

A physician who specializes in the treatment of children.

PET scan:

Positron Emission Tomography. A scanning device which uses low-dose radioactive sugar to measure brain activity.

Preclinical Research:

Testing done in laboratory prior to use with humans.

Pretreatment Evaluation:

Assessments, studies and tests done before treatment.

Psychology:

The study of behavior and of the functions and processes of the mind, especially as related to behavior.

Psycho-social:

An assessment of a person’s mental and social status and functioning.

Primary:

Not derived from any other source or cause, specifically the original condition or set of symptoms in disease processes, as with a primary tumor.

Primary Central Nervous System (CNS) Tumor:

Lymphoma tumor that is contained in the brain and/or spinal cord and not found anywhere else in the body (see Central Nervous System Lymphoma).

Primitive Neuro-Ectodermal Tumor (PNET):

Tumor from cells present in early development usually located in the cerebellum.

Quality of Life (QOL):

Level of comfort, enjoyment, ability to pursue daily activities.

Radiation therapy:

The use of radiation energy to interfere with tumor growth, also called irradiation.

Randomized:

Randomized clinical trial: where each patient is selected by chance (as by "a flip of the coin") to receive one of the various treatment options.

Recurrence:

The return of the cancer / tumor / symptom.

Remission:

The partial or complete disappearance of the disease.

Resection:

Surgical removal of the tumor.

Residual tumor:

Tumor that is remaining.

Spinal Cord:

A long cord of nervous tissue that extends from the brain lengthwise down the back in the spinal canal. It conducts sensory and motor impulses to and from the brain and controls many reflexes.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery:

Radiation therapy that uses a large number of narrow, precisely aimed, focused beams of ionizing radiation. The beams are aimed from many directions circling the head, and meet at a specific point.

Support Group:

Patients with similar problems who meet with health-care professionals for group discussion and support.

Tumor Grading:

Degree of malignancy.

Visual Spatial Skills:

Brain function involving movement and space.

Visual Motor Skills:

Coordinating vision and movement.