3 dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT): an external radiation treatment approach that focuses on directing the radiation energy to the tumor target while sparing the surrounding normal tissues; see conformal
5-alpha-dihydrotestosterone: usually known as dihydrotestosterone or DHT
5-FU: 5-Fluorouracil; (Adrucil®); a drug in the group of cancer-fighting medicines known as antineoplastics, which interferes with the growth of cancer cells. It is approved for palliative management of colon, rectum, breast, stomach and pancreatic cancer
a1-antichymotrypsin (ACT): one of the many serine protease inhibitors or serpins (short for serine protease inhibitor) which are proteins that inhibit peptidases (old name: proteases). Serine proteases are defined by the presence of a serine (an amino acid) residue in their active domain.
AAT: androgen ablation therapy; preferred terms might be androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) or hormone therapy.
AAWR: antiandrogen withdrawal response; a decrease in PSA seen upon stopping an antiandrogen such as Flutamide® or Casodex®; it is believed that this occurs because the antiandrogen has induced a mutation in the androgen receptor (AR) which is allowing the antiandrogen to stimulate PC growth rather than inhibit it
abscopal effect: In cancer treatment, an abscopal effect occurs when a particular treatment has an impact on a tumor that was not treated – “ab-” being the Latin prefix for “away from”, and “scopus” the word for “target”. See our paper.
acinus: pl. ACINI: any of the small saclike structures that terminate the ducts of some glands, also called alveolus; ACINAR: of, relating to or comprising an acinus
acronym: an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of a name; e.g. see ARM
acute urinary retention: the sudden inability to urinate, causing pain and discomfort. Causes can be related to an obstruction in the urinary system, stress, neurologic problems, or certain medications.
adenovirus: a (20 sided) virus that contains DNA; there are over 40 different adenovirus varieties, some of which cause the common cold. Modified versions have shown some ability to cause apoptosis in laboratory testing
adjuvant: an additional treatment used to increase the effectiveness of the primary therapy; radiation therapy is often used as an adjuvant treatment after a radical prostatectomy if the surgical margins are involved by PC
ADPC (androgen-dependent PC): PC cells that depend on androgens for continued cell growth and vitality
adrenal glands: the two adrenal glands are located above the kidneys; they produce a variety of different hormones, including cortisol, adrenal androgens and hormones important in blood pressure control and electrolyte balance
adrenalectomy: the surgical removal of one or both adrenal glands
ADT: see androgen deprivation therapy
age-adjusted: modified to take account of the age of an individual or group of individuals; for example, it has been suggested that normal PSA values can be adjusted according to age groupings of men:
Age PSA "cutoff"
40-49 up to 2.5 ng/ml
50-59 up to 3.5
60-69 up to 4.5
70-79 up to 6.5
agonist: A drug or other chemical that can combine with a receptor on a cell to produce a physiologic reaction typical of a naturally occurring substance
AIPC (androgen-independent PC): PC cells that do not depend on androgen for growth
albumin: A class of simple, water-soluble proteins that can be coagulated by heat and precipitated by strong acids and are found in egg white, blood serum, milk, and many other animal and plant juices and tissues
alendronate sodium : a drug that affects bone metabolism used in treating osteoporosis and being studied in the treatment of hypercalcemia (abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood) and in treating and reducing the risk of bone pain caused by cancer; active ingredient in Fosamax®
alkaline phosphatase (ALP): an enzyme in blood, bone, kidney, spleen, and lungs; used to monitor bone or liver metastasis when elevated
alpha-blockers: pharmaceuticals that act on the prostate by relaxing certain types of muscle tissue; these pharmaceuticals are often used in the treatment of BPH; examples are Flomax®, Cardura® and Hytrin®
alpha receptors: a cell site that responds to adrenaline (epinephrine) or adrenaline-like substances, causing various physiological changes related to blood vessels getting smaller
alprostadil: a prostaglandin that relaxes the smooth muscles of the penis, enhancing blood flow, and producing erection; first produced as Caverject®, an injectable Prostaglandin E1
Anandron®: trade or brand name for nilutamide, an antiandrogen; in the USA this is called Nilandron®.
anastomosis: (pl. anastomoses) – the connection of separate parts of a branching system to form a network, as of blood vessels; also the surgical connection of separate or severed tubular hollow organs to form a continuous channel, as the severed urethra in radical prostatectomy.
androgen: a hormone which is responsible for male characteristics and the development and function of male sexual organs (e.g., testosterone) produced mainly by the testicles but also in the cortex of the adrenal glands; androgens have far reaching effects on blood formation, muscle and bone mass, cognitive function, emotional lability, skin and hair, etc
androgen deprivation syndrome (ADS): a number of side effects associated with elimination or blockage of androgens from ADT; see PCRI paper on ADS.
androgen deprivation therapy (ADT): (also called hormone therapy) or testosterone inactivating pharmaceuticals (TIP)) a prostate cancer treatment that eliminates or blocks androgens to the PC cell; includes diverse mechanisms such as surgical or chemical castration, antiandrogens, 5 AR inhibitors, estrogenic compounds, agents that interfere with adrenal androgen production, agents that decrease sensitivity of the androgen receptor (AR)
androgen receptor (AR): A structural entity that is the site of interaction of a chemical substance called a ligand as is a lock and key; a docking site for a ligand
androgen receptor mutation (ARM): a mutation in the gene located on the androgen receptor that allows the antiandrogen to stimulate PC growth rather than block growth; a paradoxical effect usually occurring in about 30% of patients on long-term antiandrogen therapy in the setting of a rising PSA with a castrate testosterone level
androstenedione: an adrenal androgen precursor that is transformed to testosterone by 3 beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase within the prostate cell; testosterone can also be oxidized to androstenedione by 17 beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase
anesthetic, anesthesia: a drug that produces general or local loss of physical sensations, particularly pain; a “spinal” is the injection of a local anesthetic into the area surrounding the spinal cord
aneuploid: having an abnormal number of sets of chromosomes; for example, tetraploid means having two paired sets of chromosomes, which is twice as many as normal; aneuploid cancer cells tend not to respond well to androgen deprivation therapy; aneuploidy refers to the state of being aneuploid; (see also diploid)
angiogenesis: the growth of new blood vessels; a characteristic of tumors; angiogenesis is normal biologic process that occurs in both healthy and disease states; “angiogenesis factor” or “tumor angiogenesis factor” refers to a substance that tumors produce in order to grow new blood vessels
angiography: an X-ray study of the inside of the heart and/or blood vessels
antiandrogen monotherapy (AAM): the use of an antiandrogen to block the androgen receptors of the cancer cells as a single therapy to reduce the side-effects normally associated with androgen deprivation therapy; See our paper on AAM
antiandrogen withdrawal response: see AAWR
antibody: protein produced by the immune system as a defense against an invading or "foreign" material or substance (an antigen); for example, when you get a cold, your body produces antibodies to the cold virus
antiemetic: a medicine that prevents or alleviates nausea and vomiting
antiestrogen: a substance capable of preventing full expression of the biological effects of an estrogen
antigen: "foreign" material introduced into the body (a virus or bacterium, for example) or other material which the immune system considers to be "foreign" because it is not part of the body's normal biology (e.g., prostate cancer cells); a substance that elicits a cellular-level immune response or causes the formation of an antibody
antigen-presenting cell (APC): A type of cell that provokes an immune response from T-cells by binding foreign antigens to its own surface and then interacting with the T-cells. Also known as antigen-processing cell
antineoplastic: Inhibiting or preventing the development of abnormal tissue growth, checking the maturation and proliferation of malignant cells
antioxidant: a substance that inhibits oxidation or reactions promoted by oxygen or peroxides. Antioxidant nutrients protect human cells from damage caused by "free radicals" (highly reactive oxygen compounds).
anus: the opening of the rectum through which solid waste leaves the body
apoptosis: programmed cell death due to an alteration in a critical substance or chemical necessary for cell viability; the lack of male hormones causes apoptosis of androgen dependent PC
Arimidex®: the trademarked name for anastrozole
ARM (androgen receptor mutation): a mutation in the gene located on the androgen receptor that allows the antiandrogen to stimulate PC growth rather than block growth; a paradoxical effect usually occurring in about 30% of patients on long-term antiandrogen therapy in the setting of a rising PSA with a castrate testosterone level
assay: a method of performing a standard test for the quality or quantity of a substance (ex: PSA). Assay results may vary depending on the methods, reagents and equipment used.
ATF (amino terminal fragment): highly active part of the uPA molecule
atherosclerosis: a disorder of the arteries leading to reduced blood flow caused by the narrowing of blood vessels due to the accumulation of plaques composed up of cholesterols and fats
atrophy: a wasting or decrease in size of a body organ, tissue, or part owing to disease, injury, or lack of use: muscular atrophy of a person affected with paralysis. a wasting away, deterioration, or diminution: intellectual atrophy.
attentive DRE: a DRE described for PCA3 test as “applying firm digital pressure to the prostate from base to apex and from the lateral to the median line for each lobe with exactly three strokes per lobe” ( Dr. Yves Fradet – AUA 2006) See PCRI Paper PCA3: A Genetic Marker of Prostate Cancer.
auxotroph, auxotrophic: mutant that differs from the wild-type (normal) in requiring a nutritional supplement beyond the minimum required for metabolism and reproduction
axial spin-echo T1 weighted image: an image acquired in the axial plane using a pulse-sequence that weights the signal intensity of each pixel to the T1 (the time it takes for water protons to return to thermal equilibrium) relaxation of water