• Swiss-GO Glossar

    Swiss-GO Glossar

    The most important terms simply and briefly explained.

Glossar

Here you will find an alphabetical overview of the technical terms relating to clinical research in general.
Click on the respective letter to get to your term of interest.

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  • Adjuvant therapy
    Additional treatment after full surgical removal of a tumor in order to prevent a recurrence.

    Adverse effects
    Unwanted accompanying events that occur when a treatment is administered in the correct way.

    Allogenic
    From other people; e.g. allogenic bone marrow transplant.

    Alopecia
    Partial or total hair loss; possible side-effect after chemotherapy or radiation of the head region.

    Ambulant
    Just short stay in hospital without admission, as opposed to hospitalized.

    Analgesic
    Painkiller a drug inducing relief of pain without loss of consciousness.

    Antiemetic
    Drug to prevent the urge to vomit; often used to prevent vomiting in patient having chemotherapy.

    Antibody
    a protein present in blood that fights diseases by recognizing foreign substances present for example on bacteria.

    Antigen
    Substance that triggers the formation of antibodies.

    Apoptosis
    Cell death that is controlled and actively triggered (programmed) by cells. The inhibition of apoptosis genes can lead to uncontrolled cell division and probably plays a role in the development of cancer.

    Benign
    Not harmful. Benign tumors respect the natural tissue boundaries, unlike malignant tumors. They can become very large, but do not penetrate neighboring tissue and do not produce metastases.

    Biopsy
    A biopsy is a tissue sample taken from the body in order to examine it more closely.

    Blinding
    Procedure used to ensure that mental influences and expectations do not distort the outcome of a study. In a blinded study (single- or double-blind study), the study participants do not know which study group they are in, i.e. whether they are receiving a new treatment or a placebo.

    Breast cancer
    Cancer located in the breasts.

    Cancer
    Umbrella term to describe all malignant tumors or neoplasms including metastases. Benign tumors or cell clumps should not be referred to as cancer.

    Carcinogenic
    Substance that causes or promotes cancer.

    Carcinoma
    Malignant tumor that spreads from epithelial tissue, i.e. skin, mucous membrane or glandular tissue. Carcinomas are further differentiated according to the appearance and origin of the cells.

    Carcinoma in situ
    A tumor that is malignant in nature in terms of its cell composition but that is limited to a particular location, is not fast-growing, does not cross natural tissue boundaries and is not connected to the vascular system. It is a precursor stage of cancer.

    Chemotherapy
    A chemical substance that inhibits growth of tumor cells (cancer cells) in the body by interfering with cell division (cytostatics).

    Chromosomes
    Carriers of the genetic material in the cell nucleus; they contain the DNA chain molecule. Normal human body cells have 46 chromosomes, but the number and/or structure of chromosomes often varies in cancer cells.

    Clinical study
    Scientific investigations of people for people conducted according to strict medical and ethical rules. Their purpose is to obtain information in order to formulate better and more effective treatment recommendations.

    Combination therapy
    Therapy involving more than one drug or treatment method.

    Compliance
    The patient’s willingness to cooperate with diagnostic and therapeutic measures or to follow prescribed treatment.

    Confounder
    Risk factor that distorts the results of a study or conceals the actual cause.

    Consolidation therapy
    Second treatment after induction therapy for leukaemia with the aim of destroying remaining cancer cells by means of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

    Contraindication
    Condition or situation which means that a particular treatment is not advisable.

    Control group
    Includes the study participants who are not receiving the new treatment but who, depending on the type of study, are receiving the standard treatment or standard procedure or a placebo.

    Curative therapy
    Treatment with the intention of curing the condition, in contrast to palliative therapy.

    Cycle
    Unit (of a treatment) that is repeated several times according to a schedule.

    Cytological diagnosis
    Microscopic examination of cells from smears, blood or tissue samples (biopsies) to detect pathological changes.

    Cytostatic drugs
    Non-endogenous substances that prevent the reproduction of tumour cells and often harm healthy cells in the process. Cytostatic drugs include both synthetic drugs and plant extracts.

    Cytotoxic
    Poisoning/damaging cells.

    Differentiation
    Differentiation of tumour cells describes their similarity to or difference from normal cells of the organ in which the tumour has formed. Highly differentiated tumour cells are very similar to normal cells, while undifferentiated tumour cells are very different.

    DNA
    Desoxyribonucleic acid. Carrier of the genetic information of a living organism in the chromosomes in the cell nucleus.

    Double-blind study
    A study in which neither the patient nor the study doctor know which patient is receiving which active substance (or placebo).

    Dysplasia
    Malformation, deviation of the tissue structure from the normal situation. Dysplasias can be precursors of cancer.

    Einfachblindstudie
    Eine Studie, bei der die Patienten nicht wissen, welche Behandlung sie erhalten.

    Endocrine
    related to the hormone system.

    Endpoint
    Measurement point in a study to determine, for example, the occurrence of a disease, a symptom or a lab value.

    Epidemiology
    A record of the frequency of new conditions (incidence), deaths (mortality), causes and risk factors.

    Erhaltungstherapie
    Über eine längere Zeitperiode fortgeführte Chemotherapie, die den Erfolg der Induktionstherapie und Konsolidierungstherapie bei Krebs stabilisieren soll.

    Erythrocytes
    Red blood cells.

    Ethics committees
    High-level independent inspection bodies that assess the ethical and legal consequences of a study and ensure that study participants are protected.

    First-line therapy
    (sometimes called induction therapy, primary therapy, or front-line therapy) is the first therapy that will be tried.

    Focal
    Emerging from a focus of disease.

    Gene
    Hereditary factor, section of a molecule chain consisting of desoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Genes are responsible for certain hereditary structures or functions of an organism.

    Gene therapy
    The insertion of genes into body cells to replace missing/altered genes in order to treat disease.

    Good Clinical Practice
    International guideline for the proper conduct of a clinical study.

    Grading
    The classification of tumours and tumour tissue according to their degree of differentiation. The figure (usually G1 to G3) describes how much the cancer cells differ from healthy, mature (differentiated) cells. This information is used to determine the malignancy of the tumour.

    Hematological
    Relating to blood or blood formation.

    Histology
    The science of the fine structure of body tissue

    Hormones
    Chemical messenger substances formed in the body that reach their sites of action through the bloodstream. Hormones regulate growth, metabolism and reproduction, and can promote or reduce the growth of cancer cells.

    Hyperplasia
    Excessive, benign cell reproduction of tissue.

    Immune system
    The body’s defence system, protecting it against pathogens. It eliminates micro-organisms like viruses, bacteria and fungi, and plays a part in combating endogenous or other pathogenic cells that have become defective.

    Immune therapy
    Form of treatment in which cells or messenger substances of the endogenous defence system are used to bring about a defence reaction against tumour tissue.

    Incidence
    Frequency of new conditions, usually expressed per 100,000 residents per year.

    Induction therapy
    The first step in cancer treatment, using chemotherapy or radiotherapy to try to reduce the size of the tumour, or the cell count in the case of leukaemia.

    Infiltrative
    Invasive; in the case of tumours: spreading to surrounding tissue and destroying it.

    Informed consent
    The voluntary consent (usually in writing) or study participants after they have been informed about the purpose, conduct, expected benefits and risks and their rights and responsibilities

    Initial therapy
    First treatment after diagnosis of an advanced tumour condition.

    Interdisciplinary
    Involving a number of different areas of specialisation.

    Intergroup study
    Large study conducted by several research groups on several thousand patients.

    Lesion
    An impairment, change or injury to an organ or limb.

    Leukaemia
    Blood cancer; umbrella term for a type of cancer that occurs in the tissue that forms the blood (bone marrow). This is initially broken down into acute (rapidly progressing) and chronic (slowly progressing) forms of leukaemia. The division into myeloid or lymphatic leukaemias refers to the type of precursor cells that have become degenerate.

    Leukocytes
    White blood cells.

    Local
    In a specific area.

    Lymphoma
    Cancer of the lymphatic system (lymph gland cancer). There are many types of lymphoma, which can be divided into two groups: Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) (usually restricted to the lymph glands) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) (can occur almost anywhere in the body).

    Malignant
    Harmful. In contrast to benign tumours, malignant tumours do not respect natural tissue boundaries but penetrate and destroy other tissue and can produce metastases in parts of the body far from their origin.

    Metastases
    Secondary tumours. These occur when cancer cells from the primary tumour are transported to other parts of the body via the bloodstream or lymphatic system. Metastases allow malignant tumours to be formed in other parts of the body.

    Monoclonal antibodies
    Proteins (immunoglobulins) that react with a single antigen. Researchers develop monoclonal antibodies that bond to specific antigens on the surface of the cancer cells in order to trigger an immune defence against these cells or to introduce a cancer-killing substance.

    Monotherapy
    Treatment with a single drug.

    Morbidity
    Likelihood of an individual developing a particular disease or condition.

    Mortality
    Proportion of deaths, normally expressed per 100,000 residents.

    Multi-center study
    Carried out at several hospitals (centres) at the same time.

    Mutation
    Change in the sequence of building blocks in the DNA genetic molecule. Mutations can lead to changes or losses in the function of genes, and so affect the behaviour of cells.

    Neoadjuvant therapy
    Pre-operative treatment (e.g. chemotherapy) carried out before surgery to remove a tumour. It is designed to reduce the size of the tumour and/or kill off tiny tumour cell clusters.

    Neoplasm
    Newly-formed abnormal cell growth, new formation, formation of new tissue, often malignant.

    Oncogenes
    Genes that are involved in the development of cancer. They are only carcinogenic if they have certain defects. Intact oncogenes have important regulatory functions in the cycle of cell division.

    Oncology
    The study of the development, diagnosis and treatment of cancers. In the modern understanding, this also involves the care, after-care, psychological support and rehabilitation of patients.

    Open study
    Both the doctor and the patient know the study group to which the participant belongs.

    Oral
    Via the mouth.

    Overall survival
    The length of time from either the date of diagnosis or the start of treatment for a disease that patients diagnosed with the disease are still alive.

    p-value
    An expression of statistical significance. A p-value of less than 0.05 means that the likelihood of the result being due to chance is less than 5%.

    Palliative
    Treatment given to relieve the symptoms and reduce the suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

    Palliative therapy
    Treatment aimed at relieving symptoms or preventing complications in the case of incurable cancers, in contrast to curative therapy.

    Pathogen
    Causing disease, or a substance that does so.

    Pathological
    Related to disease.

    Pathologist
    Doctor who investigates and assesses pathological changes to body tissues and cells.

    Patient information
    Informs patients about the purpose, intention, effects and side effects of investigations and treatments. Written patient information is always provided to complement the information given by the doctor if the treatment is planned in the context of studies.

    Percutaneous
    Through the skin.

    PET
    Positron Emission Tomography. Computerised imaging procedure that produces images of cross-sections of bodily organs from which metabolic processes can be seen.

    Pharmacodynamics
    The study of the effects of drugs in the body, especially the profile of action, mechanism of action and the dose-effect relationship.

    Pharmacokinetics
    Description of the mechanism of action, i.e. the release, take-up, distribution, metabolisation and secretion of a particular drug.

    Phase I study
    First study in man; the search for new treatment methods that until this point have only been tested in the laboratory and in animal experiments.

    Phase II study
    Phase II studies investigate how effective and safe the new treatment is at the specified dose in combating a particular type of cancer.

    Phase III study
    The new treatment is compared to the usual method in order to find out whether the new treatment method is better.

    Phase IV study
    Rare side effects and interactions with other drugs are ascertained after the drug has been authorized for use.

    Placebo
    A dummy drug that does not contain any active substance.

    Placebo effect
    Effects and side effects caused by a dummy drug for which there is no pharmacological explanation. The placebo effect is based on positive expectations and mental effects.

    Preclinical tests
    Tests carried out in the laboratory and on animals to thoroughly investigate a newly developed drug before the clinical phase and before use in humans.

    Prevalence
    Frequency of a particular condition at a particular time in a defined group, usually the entire population

    Primary tumor
    The tumor which developed first; of which metastases originate.

    Progression
    The advance of the disease.

    Proliferation
    Reproduction of cells or tissue.

    Radical resection
    Surgical removal of tumor, in which the entire organ and if necessary large sections of surrounding tissue are removed in order to ensure that tiny tumor cell clusters nearby are also captured.

    Radiochemotherapy
    Combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy (at the same time or consecutively).

    Radiotherapy
    The use of short-wave, very high-energy radiation, alone or in combination with other measures, to combat malignant tumours.

    Randomization
    A procedure followed in clinical studies, whereby participants are allocated at random to one or more treatment groups. The aim is to prevent the proven effect being subject to systematic bias.

    Relapse
    Recurrence, reappearance of a disease.

    Remission
    Decline of the disease. Complete or partial regression of the tumour, normally in response to treatment.

    Resistance
    Insensitivity to a treatment, e.g. of tumour cells to chemotherapy or of bacteria to antibiotics.

    Sarcoma
    Type of cancer starting in the bones, cartilage, fatty tissue, muscles or blood vessels.

    Screening
    Early detection of diseases before they become apparent through symptoms.

    Second-line therapy
    Therapy that is applied when, after completion of the first treatment (first-line therapy), a therapeutic success fails, e.g. a tumour grows again or metastases form.

    Significance
    Importance; the difference between two treatments is significant if it is large enough that the study outcome cannot be due to chance.

    Sponsor
    A person, company, institution or organisation that is responsible for initiating, organising and/or funding the study.

    Staging
    The process of recording and classifying the local extent of the tumour, lymph node status and remote metastases (TNM classification) in order to find the most suitable treatment

    Standard therapy
    The conventional treatment whose efficacy has already been tried and proven. The best treatment available at the time.

    Study arm
    Patients are allocated to a study arm for a treatment that is to be investigated by comparison with another treatment. A study can include various study arms, e.g. an arm with a new treatment and an arm with standard treatment.

    Subject
    A healthy study participant.

    Supportive therapy
    Prevention and treatment of complications and side effects of cancer therapy.

    Swissmedic
    Swissmedic, which is part of the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs, is responsible for the quality, safety and efficacy of drugs and medicinal products, and registers, approves and monitors all clinical studies carried out with drugs that are not routinely prescribed.

    Therapy-resistant
    not responding to a treatment/not treatable by the standard therapy.

    Third-line therapy
    Therapy that is used when the effect of a second-line therapy diminishes or its therapeutic success fails, e.g. a relapse occurs or metastases form.

    Toxicity, toxic
    The poisonous effect of a substance, e.g. a cytostatic.

    Trial doctor
    The doctor leading and conducting a clinical study. He/she is highly qualified and already has experience with clinical studies.

    Tumor
    Swelling; in the strictest sense, a growth caused by the proliferation of cells that have escaped normal growth control; benign or malignant.

    Tumor markers
    Endogenous substances that enter the blood in higher concentrations when cancer is present. They are used mainly to monitor the course of known cancers: a rise in tumour marker concentration in the blood can be a sign of tumour growth. Markers can also be detected in other bodily fluids and tissue.

  • Adjuvant therapy
    Additional treatment after full surgical removal of a tumor in order to prevent a recurrence.

    Adverse effects
    Unwanted accompanying events that occur when a treatment is administered in the correct way.

    Allogenic
    From other people; e.g. allogenic bone marrow transplant.

    Alopecia
    Partial or total hair loss; possible side-effect after chemotherapy or radiation of the head region.

    Ambulant
    Just short stay in hospital without admission, as opposed to hospitalized.

    Analgesic
    Painkiller a drug inducing relief of pain without loss of consciousness.

    Antiemetic
    Drug to prevent the urge to vomit; often used to prevent vomiting in patient having chemotherapy.

    Antibody
    a protein present in blood that fights diseases by recognizing foreign substances present for example on bacteria.

    Antigen
    Substance that triggers the formation of antibodies.

    Apoptosis
    Cell death that is controlled and actively triggered (programmed) by cells. The inhibition of apoptosis genes can lead to uncontrolled cell division and probably plays a role in the development of cancer.

  • Benign
    Not harmful. Benign tumors respect the natural tissue boundaries, unlike malignant tumors. They can become very large, but do not penetrate neighboring tissue and do not produce metastases.

    Biopsy
    A biopsy is a tissue sample taken from the body in order to examine it more closely.

    Blinding
    Procedure used to ensure that mental influences and expectations do not distort the outcome of a study. In a blinded study (single- or double-blind study), the study participants do not know which study group they are in, i.e. whether they are receiving a new treatment or a placebo.

    Breast cancer
    Cancer located in the breasts.

  • Cancer
    Umbrella term to describe all malignant tumors or neoplasms including metastases. Benign tumors or cell clumps should not be referred to as cancer.

    Carcinogenic
    Substance that causes or promotes cancer.

    Carcinoma
    Malignant tumor that spreads from epithelial tissue, i.e. skin, mucous membrane or glandular tissue. Carcinomas are further differentiated according to the appearance and origin of the cells.

    Carcinoma in situ
    A tumor that is malignant in nature in terms of its cell composition but that is limited to a particular location, is not fast-growing, does not cross natural tissue boundaries and is not connected to the vascular system. It is a precursor stage of cancer.

    Chemotherapy
    A chemical substance that inhibits growth of tumor cells (cancer cells) in the body by interfering with cell division (cytostatics).

    Chromosomes
    Carriers of the genetic material in the cell nucleus; they contain the DNA chain molecule. Normal human body cells have 46 chromosomes, but the number and/or structure of chromosomes often varies in cancer cells.

    Clinical study
    Scientific investigations of people for people conducted according to strict medical and ethical rules. Their purpose is to obtain information in order to formulate better and more effective treatment recommendations.

    Combination therapy
    Therapy involving more than one drug or treatment method.

    Compliance
    The patient’s willingness to cooperate with diagnostic and therapeutic measures or to follow prescribed treatment.

    Confounder
    Risk factor that distorts the results of a study or conceals the actual cause.

    Consolidation therapy
    Second treatment after induction therapy for leukaemia with the aim of destroying remaining cancer cells by means of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

    Contraindication
    Condition or situation which means that a particular treatment is not advisable.

    Control group
    Includes the study participants who are not receiving the new treatment but who, depending on the type of study, are receiving the standard treatment or standard procedure or a placebo.

    Curative therapy
    Treatment with the intention of curing the condition, in contrast to palliative therapy.

    Cycle
    Unit (of a treatment) that is repeated several times according to a schedule.

    Cytological diagnosis
    Microscopic examination of cells from smears, blood or tissue samples (biopsies) to detect pathological changes.

    Cytostatic drugs
    Non-endogenous substances that prevent the reproduction of tumour cells and often harm healthy cells in the process. Cytostatic drugs include both synthetic drugs and plant extracts.

    Cytotoxic
    Poisoning/damaging cells.

  • Differentiation
    Differentiation of tumour cells describes their similarity to or difference from normal cells of the organ in which the tumour has formed. Highly differentiated tumour cells are very similar to normal cells, while undifferentiated tumour cells are very different.

    DNA
    Desoxyribonucleic acid. Carrier of the genetic information of a living organism in the chromosomes in the cell nucleus.

    Double-blind study
    A study in which neither the patient nor the study doctor know which patient is receiving which active substance (or placebo).

    Dysplasia
    Malformation, deviation of the tissue structure from the normal situation. Dysplasias can be precursors of cancer.

  • Einfachblindstudie
    Eine Studie, bei der die Patienten nicht wissen, welche Behandlung sie erhalten.

    Endocrine
    related to the hormone system.

    Endpoint
    Measurement point in a study to determine, for example, the occurrence of a disease, a symptom or a lab value.

    Epidemiology
    A record of the frequency of new conditions (incidence), deaths (mortality), causes and risk factors.

    Erhaltungstherapie
    Über eine längere Zeitperiode fortgeführte Chemotherapie, die den Erfolg der Induktionstherapie und Konsolidierungstherapie bei Krebs stabilisieren soll.

    Erythrocytes
    Red blood cells.

    Ethics committees
    High-level independent inspection bodies that assess the ethical and legal consequences of a study and ensure that study participants are protected.

  • First-line therapy
    (sometimes called induction therapy, primary therapy, or front-line therapy) is the first therapy that will be tried.

    Focal
    Emerging from a focus of disease.

  • Gene
    Hereditary factor, section of a molecule chain consisting of desoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Genes are responsible for certain hereditary structures or functions of an organism.

    Gene therapy
    The insertion of genes into body cells to replace missing/altered genes in order to treat disease.

    Good Clinical Practice
    International guideline for the proper conduct of a clinical study.

    Grading
    The classification of tumours and tumour tissue according to their degree of differentiation. The figure (usually G1 to G3) describes how much the cancer cells differ from healthy, mature (differentiated) cells. This information is used to determine the malignancy of the tumour.

  • Hematological
    Relating to blood or blood formation.

    Histology
    The science of the fine structure of body tissue

    Hormones
    Chemical messenger substances formed in the body that reach their sites of action through the bloodstream. Hormones regulate growth, metabolism and reproduction, and can promote or reduce the growth of cancer cells.

    Hyperplasia
    Excessive, benign cell reproduction of tissue.

  • Immune system
    The body’s defence system, protecting it against pathogens. It eliminates micro-organisms like viruses, bacteria and fungi, and plays a part in combating endogenous or other pathogenic cells that have become defective.

    Immune therapy
    Form of treatment in which cells or messenger substances of the endogenous defence system are used to bring about a defence reaction against tumour tissue.

    Incidence
    Frequency of new conditions, usually expressed per 100,000 residents per year.

    Induction therapy
    The first step in cancer treatment, using chemotherapy or radiotherapy to try to reduce the size of the tumour, or the cell count in the case of leukaemia.

    Infiltrative
    Invasive; in the case of tumours: spreading to surrounding tissue and destroying it.

    Informed consent
    The voluntary consent (usually in writing) or study participants after they have been informed about the purpose, conduct, expected benefits and risks and their rights and responsibilities

    Initial therapy
    First treatment after diagnosis of an advanced tumour condition.

    Interdisciplinary
    Involving a number of different areas of specialisation.

    Intergroup study
    Large study conducted by several research groups on several thousand patients.

  • Kanzerogen
    Krebsauslösend oder krebsbegünstigend; krebsauslösend oder krebsbegünstigender Stoff

    Karzinom
    Bösartiger Tumor, der von Deckgeweben, d.h. Haut, Schleimhaut oder Drüsengewebe, ausgeht. Karzinome werden nach Erscheinungsbild der Zellen und ihrer Herkunft weiter unterschieden.

    Klinische Studie
    Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen am Menschen für den Menschen nach strengen medizinischen und ethischen Regeln. Sie dienen der Klärung einer Fragestellung mit der Absicht, bessere und wirksamere Therapieempfehlungen zu formulieren.

    Knochenmark
    Im Knochenmark wird das Blut gebildet. Reife Blutzellen haben eine begrenzte Lebensdauer und müssen daher ständig im Knochenmark nachproduziert werden.

    Kombinationstherapie
    Therapie mit mehr als einem Medikament oder einer Behandlungsmethode

    Konsolidierungstherapie
    Zweite Behandlung nach der Induktionstherapie mit dem Ziel, die restlichen Krebszellen bei Blutkrebs mit Chemo- oder Radiotherapie zu zerstören.

    Kontraindikation
    Bedingung oder Situation, die gegen die Durchführung einer Behandlungsmassnahme spricht

    Kontrollgruppe
    Beinhaltet die Studienteilnehmenden, die nicht die neue Behandlung bekommen, sondern zum Vergleich die Standard-Behandlung bzw. je nach Studientyp das Standardvorgehen oder ein Placebo.

    Krebs
    Sammelbegriff für sämtliche bösartige Tumoren oder Neubildungen, die oftmals auch Metastasen bilden. Im engeren Sinne umfasst dies Karzinome und Sarkome, im Weiteren auch Leukämien und Lymphome. Gutartige Tumoren oder Wucherungen sind kein Krebs.

    Kurative Therapie
    Behandlung mit Heilungsabsicht; im Gegensatz zur palliativen Therapie

  • Lesion
    An impairment, change or injury to an organ or limb.

    Leukaemia
    Blood cancer; umbrella term for a type of cancer that occurs in the tissue that forms the blood (bone marrow). This is initially broken down into acute (rapidly progressing) and chronic (slowly progressing) forms of leukaemia. The division into myeloid or lymphatic leukaemias refers to the type of precursor cells that have become degenerate.

    Leukocytes
    White blood cells.

    Local
    In a specific area.

    Lymphoma
    Cancer of the lymphatic system (lymph gland cancer). There are many types of lymphoma, which can be divided into two groups: Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) (usually restricted to the lymph glands) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) (can occur almost anywhere in the body).

  • Malignant
    Harmful. In contrast to benign tumours, malignant tumours do not respect natural tissue boundaries but penetrate and destroy other tissue and can produce metastases in parts of the body far from their origin.

    Metastases
    Secondary tumours. These occur when cancer cells from the primary tumour are transported to other parts of the body via the bloodstream or lymphatic system. Metastases allow malignant tumours to be formed in other parts of the body.

    Monoclonal antibodies
    Proteins (immunoglobulins) that react with a single antigen. Researchers develop monoclonal antibodies that bond to specific antigens on the surface of the cancer cells in order to trigger an immune defence against these cells or to introduce a cancer-killing substance.

    Monotherapy
    Treatment with a single drug.

    Morbidity
    Likelihood of an individual developing a particular disease or condition.

    Mortality
    Proportion of deaths, normally expressed per 100,000 residents.

    Multi-center study
    Carried out at several hospitals (centres) at the same time.

    Mutation
    Change in the sequence of building blocks in the DNA genetic molecule. Mutations can lead to changes or losses in the function of genes, and so affect the behaviour of cells.

  • Neoadjuvant therapy
    Pre-operative treatment (e.g. chemotherapy) carried out before surgery to remove a tumour. It is designed to reduce the size of the tumour and/or kill off tiny tumour cell clusters.

    Neoplasm
    Newly-formed abnormal cell growth, new formation, formation of new tissue, often malignant.

  • Oncogenes
    Genes that are involved in the development of cancer. They are only carcinogenic if they have certain defects. Intact oncogenes have important regulatory functions in the cycle of cell division.

    Oncology
    The study of the development, diagnosis and treatment of cancers. In the modern understanding, this also involves the care, after-care, psychological support and rehabilitation of patients.

    Open study
    Both the doctor and the patient know the study group to which the participant belongs.

    Oral
    Via the mouth.

    Overall survival
    The length of time from either the date of diagnosis or the start of treatment for a disease that patients diagnosed with the disease are still alive.

  • p-value
    An expression of statistical significance. A p-value of less than 0.05 means that the likelihood of the result being due to chance is less than 5%.

    Palliative
    Treatment given to relieve the symptoms and reduce the suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

    Palliative therapy
    Treatment aimed at relieving symptoms or preventing complications in the case of incurable cancers, in contrast to curative therapy.

    Pathogen
    Causing disease, or a substance that does so.

    Pathological
    Related to disease.

    Pathologist
    Doctor who investigates and assesses pathological changes to body tissues and cells.

    Patient information
    Informs patients about the purpose, intention, effects and side effects of investigations and treatments. Written patient information is always provided to complement the information given by the doctor if the treatment is planned in the context of studies.

    Percutaneous
    Through the skin.

    PET
    Positron Emission Tomography. Computerised imaging procedure that produces images of cross-sections of bodily organs from which metabolic processes can be seen.

    Pharmacodynamics
    The study of the effects of drugs in the body, especially the profile of action, mechanism of action and the dose-effect relationship.

    Pharmacokinetics
    Description of the mechanism of action, i.e. the release, take-up, distribution, metabolisation and secretion of a particular drug.

    Phase I study
    First study in man; the search for new treatment methods that until this point have only been tested in the laboratory and in animal experiments.

    Phase II study
    Phase II studies investigate how effective and safe the new treatment is at the specified dose in combating a particular type of cancer.

    Phase III study
    The new treatment is compared to the usual method in order to find out whether the new treatment method is better.

    Phase IV study
    Rare side effects and interactions with other drugs are ascertained after the drug has been authorized for use.

    Placebo
    A dummy drug that does not contain any active substance.

    Placebo effect
    Effects and side effects caused by a dummy drug for which there is no pharmacological explanation. The placebo effect is based on positive expectations and mental effects.

    Preclinical tests
    Tests carried out in the laboratory and on animals to thoroughly investigate a newly developed drug before the clinical phase and before use in humans.

    Prevalence
    Frequency of a particular condition at a particular time in a defined group, usually the entire population

    Primary tumor
    The tumor which developed first; of which metastases originate.

    Progression
    The advance of the disease.

    Proliferation
    Reproduction of cells or tissue.

  • Radical resection
    Surgical removal of tumor, in which the entire organ and if necessary large sections of surrounding tissue are removed in order to ensure that tiny tumor cell clusters nearby are also captured.

    Radiochemotherapy
    Combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy (at the same time or consecutively).

    Radiotherapy
    The use of short-wave, very high-energy radiation, alone or in combination with other measures, to combat malignant tumours.

    Randomization
    A procedure followed in clinical studies, whereby participants are allocated at random to one or more treatment groups. The aim is to prevent the proven effect being subject to systematic bias.

    Relapse
    Recurrence, reappearance of a disease.

    Remission
    Decline of the disease. Complete or partial regression of the tumour, normally in response to treatment.

    Resistance
    Insensitivity to a treatment, e.g. of tumour cells to chemotherapy or of bacteria to antibiotics.

  • Sarcoma
    Type of cancer starting in the bones, cartilage, fatty tissue, muscles or blood vessels.

    Screening
    Early detection of diseases before they become apparent through symptoms.

    second-line therapy
    Therapy that is applied when, after completion of the first treatment (first-line therapy), a therapeutic success fails, e.g. a tumour grows again or metastases form.

    Significance
    Importance; the difference between two treatments is significant if it is large enough that the study outcome cannot be due to chance.

    Sponsor
    A person, company, institution or organisation that is responsible for initiating, organising and/or funding the study.

    Staging
    The process of recording and classifying the local extent of the tumour, lymph node status and remote metastases (TNM classification) in order to find the most suitable treatment

    Standard therapy
    The conventional treatment whose efficacy has already been tried and proven. The best treatment available at the time.

    Study arm
    Patients are allocated to a study arm for a treatment that is to be investigated by comparison with another treatment. A study can include various study arms, e.g. an arm with a new treatment and an arm with standard treatment.

    Subject
    A healthy study participant.

    Supportive therapy
    Prevention and treatment of complications and side effects of cancer therapy.

    Swissmedic
    Swissmedic, which is part of the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs, is responsible for the quality, safety and efficacy of drugs and medicinal products, and registers, approves and monitors all clinical studies carried out with drugs that are not routinely prescribed.

  • therapy-resistant
    not responding to a treatment/not treatable by the standard therapy.

    third-line therapy
    Therapy that is used when the effect of a second-line therapy diminishes or its therapeutic success fails, e.g. a relapse occurs or metastases form.

    Toxicity, toxic
    The poisonous effect of a substance, e.g. a cytostatic.

    Trial doctor
    The doctor leading and conducting a clinical study. He/she is highly qualified and already has experience with clinical studies.

    Tumor
    Swelling; in the strictest sense, a growth caused by the proliferation of cells that have escaped normal growth control; benign or malignant.

    Tumour markers
    Endogenous substances that enter the blood in higher concentrations when cancer is present. They are used mainly to monitor the course of known cancers: a rise in tumour marker concentration in the blood can be a sign of tumour growth. Markers can also be detected in other bodily fluids and tissue.

  • Verblindung
    Vorgehen, um auszuschliessen, dass psychische Einflüsse und Erwartungen das Ergebnis einer Studie verfälschen. In einer verblindeten Studie (Blindstudie, Doppelblindstudie) wissen die Studienteilnehmenden nicht, welcher Studiengruppe sie angehören, d.h. ob sie eine neue oder eine herkömmliche Behandlung bzw. Placebo erhalten.

  • Zweitlinientherapie
    Therapie, die angewendet wird, wenn nach Abschluss der ersten Behandlung (Erstlinientherapie) ein Therapieerfolg ausbleibt, z. B. ein Tumor wieder wächst oder sich Metastasen bilden.

    Zyklus
    Standardisiert ablaufende, mehrmals wiederholte Einheit (einer Behandlung)

    Zytologische Diagnostik
    Mikroskopische Untersuchung von Zellen aus Abstrichen, Blut oder Gewebeproben (Biopsien) auf krankhafte Veränderungen

    Zytostatika
    Körperfremde Substanzen, die die Vermehrung von Tumorzellen verhindern und dabei oft auch gesunde Zellen schädigen. Zu den Zytostatika zählen sowohl synthetisch hergestellte Medikamente als auch Pflanzenextrakte.

    Zytotoxisch
    Zellgiftig, zellschädigend

Address

Swiss GO Trial Group
Gynecological Oncology
Hospital for Women
University Hospital Basel
Spitalstrasse 21
CH-4031 Basel
Switzerland

Contact Info

Phone: +41 61 265 75 00
Fax:      +41 61 265 93 22

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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