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Glossary


T

  • T-Cells - A major class of lymphocytes. There are 2 types of T-cells: cytotoxic T-cells and helper T-cells. They play a vital role in the immune response.
  • Tamoxifen - An antihormonal agent that has been investigated alone and with other chemotherapy agents for the treatment of metastatic melanoma and found not to add benefit.
  • Tan - A darkening of the skin caused by increased melanin production. Tanning is the skin's response to damage done to it by ultraviolet light. The skin tans in an attempt to defend against further exposure to ultraviolet radiation and sunburn.
  • Taxanes - A class of chemotherapeutic agents including paclitaxel and docetaxel.
  • Temozolomide (Temodar) - A chemotherapeutic agent currently under investigation for the treatment of metastatic melanoma, including brain metastases, and approved for treatment of some kinds of cancer that begin in the brain.
  • TH1 - A subset of helper T-cells that produce a particular profile of cytokines including interferon gamma and interleukin-2.
  • TH2 - A subset of helper T-cells that produces a particular profile of cytokines including interleukin 4 and 5 and helps prime B-cells for antibody production.
  • Thalidomide - An angiogenesis inhibitor drug being studied for the treatment of several cancers, including metastatic melanoma. The drug was used as a sedative and antinausea drug for pregnant women in the 1950s, but it caused severe birth defects. It was taken off the market until it was approved for the treatment of leprosy in 1996. Thalidomide has relatively few serious side effects when not taken by pregnant women.
  • Therapeutic Lymph Node Dissection (TLND) - Surgery to remove all regional lymph nodes from the area where cancerous lymph nodes were found on clinical examination. The goal is to prevent further spread of the disease through the lymphatic system.
  • Thickness - The thickness of a melanoma is how deep the tumor extends into the skin generally measured in millimeters (mm).
  • Thrombocytopenia - A decrease in the number of platelets in the blood.
  • Thymus - An organ of the lymphatic system, located in the chest behind the sternum, and the site where T-cells mature.
  • TNF - Tumor Necrosis Factor. A protein produced by the immune system that improves the immune response and that can destroy some types of cancer cells.
  • TNM (Tumors-Node-Metastasis) System - The most widely used system for cancer staging in the world. Created by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), the TNM system defines cancer by features of the primary tumors, the presence or absence of tumor spread to nearby lymph nodes, and the presence or absence of metastasis to distant sites.
  • Transduced Tumor Cells - Cancer cells altered through genetic engineering to include genetic material from cytokines; used in tumor cell vaccines.
  • Tumor - An abnormal mass of tissue that results from excessive cell division. Tumors perform no useful body function. They may either be benign or malignant.
  • Tumor Board - A panel of many different kinds of medical specialists who work together to determine how best to help a cancer patient.
  • Tumor Lysates - Fragments of destroyed tumor cells; used in tumor cell vaccines.
  • Tumor Markers - Substances such as proteins or enzymes produced by tumor cells or by the body in response to tumor cells. When tumor cells multiply, tumor markers increase and enter the bloodstream. Theoretically, tumor marker levels in the blood may help to evaluate whether treatment is working or if the disease is progressing.
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor - An experimental immunotherapy being investigated as an agent in isolated limb perfusion.
  • Tumor Oncolysates - An extract made from cancer cells infected with a strain of virus destructive to the cancer cells; used in tumor cell vaccines.
  • Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes (TILs) - TILs describes the patient's immune response to the melanoma. TILs indicate the immune system's ability to recognize the melanoma cells as abnormal. A brisk immune response has been associated with a better prognosis.
  • Tumorigenic - Having the capacity to produce cancer.
  • Tyronsinase - An enzyme associated with the production of melanin and a possible tumor marker for melanoma.