ALL-kids

Abbreviations, Definitions, and Quick Reference

New members are often overwhelmed by the shortcut notations of longtime listmembers. This page began as an answer to that situation, and expanded to include links to more information.

506U78 ara-G 2-amino, 6-methoxypurine arabinoside
Ab used both for antibiotic and antibody Antibiotics are given routinely to prevent PCP; they are given as necessary when infections occur.
AGC absolute granulyte count - same as ANC b
ALT Alanine aminotransferase (also called SGPT) A liver function indicator. Values for healthy children: 0-48 IU/l. More information at Blood Counts Explained on the Childhood Cancer Guides web site.
amphotericin B Amphocin, Fungizone intraveneous

"ampho-terrible"

An anti-fungal agent, used to help the body overcome serious fungal infections. Known to have side effects, such as fever and chills.
ANC absolute neutrophil count A measure of the amount of neutrophils in the blood. Neutrophils are the white blood cells that fight infections. A range of 500-1500 is considered okay for cancer patients; if the ANC falls above or below these values, chemo might be adjusted. See these sites for more information: Cincinnatti's Children's Hospital and Cure Hodgkin's
anthracyclines daunorubicin, doxorubicin, idarubcin, adriamycin Chemotherapy drug.
ara-C cytarabine Chemotherapy drug.
asp asparaginase Chemotherapy drug. Available as L-asparaginase (E. Coli, Elspar), PEG-asparaginase, Erwinia asparaginase.
AST aspartate aminotransferase; same as SGOT An enzyme that can be released into the blood stream by damaged tissues (like the liver). Values for healthy children: 0-36 IU/l. More information at Blood Counts Explained on the Childhood Cancer Guides web site
AVN avascular necrosis "Death from lack of blood", a condition that sometimes affects the joints of some children treated for ALL. More information on AVN.
Bactrim an antibiotic Antibiotic given routinely to prevent PCP
Bands b A type of white blood cell that fights infection. See CBC.
pre B-cell a sub-classification of ALL ALL involves either B- or T-cell lymphocytes. B-cell ALL is further classified to early pre-B-cell, pre-B, mature B-cell according to surface or cytoplasmic immunoglobulins (antigens). Pre-B is the most common type of ALL.
BFM Berlin-Frankfurt-Munster The 1976-9 ALL clinical trial in children that gave impressive EFS; it began with 8 weeks of intensive therapy, followed by 8 weeks of maintenance therapy, and then another 6 weeks of intensive treatment. In other words, it included a delayed intensification.
bilirubin b Hemoglobin from damaged red blood cells is converted to bilirubin; if the liver does not remove bilirubin from the blood stream, its level rises. Values for healthy children: 0.3-1.3 mg/dl. More information at Blood Counts Explained on the Childhood Cancer Guides web site
BMA bone marrow aspiration The suctioning of a small sample of bone marrow (usually from the hip) through a needle for examination under a microscope. BMA is removal of liquid marrow, as opposed to BMB which is removal of tissue. BMAs (rather than BMBs) are generally used in ALL treatment, although BMBs will be used if the marrow is too packed to allow a BMA (liquid) sample to be drawn up into a needle. BMAs are used to determine presence of leukemic cells in the bone marrow and if so, the percentage of total cells that are leukemic. If leukemia cells are found, they will be studied to determine the cell type and cytogenetics (more). BMAs are used to diagnose ALL, to monitor the effect of treatment, to check for 'tired marrow' and other anomolies of treatment, and to determine whether or not a relapse has occurred.
BMB bone marrow biopsy The removal of a sample of tissue - a tiny "bone chip" - from the bone marrow for examination under a microscope. It can be done immediately following a BMA. (See BMA.)
BMT bone marrow transplant Intense chemo/radiation followed by infusion of healthy bone marrow cells. More information on BMTs.
butt paste concoctions to help sore chemo bottoms See the ped-onc treatment page.
CBC complete blood count A measure of the number of red and white blood cells and platelets in a sample of blood; "with differential" may be specified, it means that the test determines the number of different types of white blood cells. See Blood Counts Explained on the Univ of Iowa College of Nursing site and Blood Counts Explained on the Childhood Cancer Guides web site by Nancy Keene.
CCG Children's Cancer Group Combined with POG to form COG in the late 1990s. Older protocols are still designated "CCG" or "POG".
CD2, 3, 7, 10, 19 (etc) ALL antigens Antigens expressed by white cells at different stages of their development. The antigens expressed by a particular leukemia determine whether that cell is early pre-B, pre-B, T-cell, etc. See the ALL cell type page.
CD10 (cALLa) an ALL antigen About 80% of the pre-B cell ALLs express the cALLa antigen, often called "common ALL antigen", which is generally associated with a favorable prognosis.
CMV cytomegalovirus CMV is a viral infection that most children will have by the time they are a teen. It usually presents itself like a common cold. It leaves residual marks on the nervous system (like chicken pox) that can re-ativate itself when triggered. For an immuno suppressed person CMV can attack certain areas of the body. Two main areas are gastro/ intestional causings bleeding and intestional damage (can be severe) and the retinas causing visual deterioration and blindness if not caught soon enough. Both cases require surgery.
CMP Complete (or Comprehensive) Metabolic Panel CMP is a group of usually 14 tests that are done to test various things such as glucose, calcium, protein, potassium and various other levels. It also tests for the BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatine as well as the AST (liver function) and billirubin. Good coverage on Lab Tests Online.
COG Children's Oncology Group POG and COG; the association of physicians and researchers who plan and carry out treatments for childhood cancers, including ALL.
cold spray freezy spray A spray (ethyl chloride) used immediately prior to needle pokes to numb the skin and prevent pain.
cytarabine same as ara C Chemotherapy drug.
cytoxin cyclophosphamide Chemotherapy drug.
Dauno Daunorubicin Chemotherapy drug.
DD divided dose When a drug is administered in two or more smaller doses/day rather than by one large dose.
dex dexamethasone Chemotherapy drug (a steroid).
DI or delint delayed intensification Several ALL protocols call for induction, consolidation, interim maintenance, then a period of intense chemo, or delayed intensification.
dox doxorubicin, one of the anthracyclines Chemotherapy drug.
dx diagnosed Often used in signature lines: "dx 2/02/02" means the child was diagnosed Feb. 2, 2002.
EKG/Echo echocardiogram An echo is usually ordered early in treatment and at points during and after treatment to assess the damage to the heart of the anthracyclines.
EMLA eutectic mixture of local anaesthetics A cream that is applied to the skin about an hour before a needle-poke procedure to numb the skin. (Active ingredients are lidocaine and prilocaine.)
Etoposide b Chemotherapy drug.
EFS event free survival Event free survival is expressed as the amount of time the patient goes without adverse events (relapse, death). Some doctors say that 5 years of EFS after first remission is a cure, others say 5 years off-treatment is a cure.
ER emergency room b
Fifth's disease b Fifths disease is a common childhood illness called Fifths Disease because it is the 5th childhood rash-associated disease along with measles, scarlet fever, rubella, Duke's dissease. It is characterized by a red face rash which looks like the face has been slapped.
freezy spray cold spray A spray (ethyl chloride) used immediately prior to needle pokes to numb the skin and prevent pain.
g/m2 grams/square meter of body surface area A method of specifying drug dosages. Here is a link to a page that calculates Body Surface Area and descriptive statistics plus medication doses: Advanced Body Surface Area Calculator
GCSF granulocyte colony stimulating factor Also known as neupogen. GCSF timulates the production of infection-fighting white blood cells. More in the "package insert" from the company. GCSF is not routinely given to ALL patients, it is used more for treatment of solid tumors. See also neupogen.
glutamine an amino acid Might help prevent or lessen mucositis (mouth sores, intestinal problems) caused by heavy chemo, radiation. See the ped-onc mouth care page.
GVHD graft versus host disease A complication of bone marrow transplants. More information on BMTs.
HD high dose (See methotrexate.)
heparin an anti-coagulant Used to prevent blood clotting in ports.
Hgb hemoglobin Values for healthy children are 11.5-13.5 g/100ml. Pediatric oncologists ask for a blood transfusion if the value falls below about 9 (depending on the institution). See CBC.
hyperdiploid b See Molecular Characterization page.
hypodiploid b 44 or less chromosomes; See Molecular Characterization page.
ID intermediate dose (See methotrexate.)
ida idarubicin Chemotherapy drug.
IM intramuscular Shots into a muscle - asparaginase shots are administered in this manner.
IT intrathecal Shots into the spinal fluid, also called spinal tap.
IV intravenous Shots into a vein, or into the port if the child has one.
LCR leukovorin rescue b
LCV leucovorin "Concentrated Folic Acid given orally after IT MTX, to stop unnecessary toxicity"
LP lumbar puncture same as IT
LTM long term maintenance The last phase of ALL therapy, usually about 2 years of monthly vincristine and prednisone pulses, weekly methotrexate, daily 6-MP, and periodic ITs.
Lymphs lymphocytes See CBC.
M1, M2, M3 the percentage of a bone marrow sample that is leukemia cells M2 means the marrow has between 5% and 25% leukemic blasts; M3 means there are more than 25% leukemic blasts; M1 means less than 5% blasts and is the usual definition of a "remission" marrow.
meth methotrexate POG protocols: IV ID methotrexate is1g/m2, HD is 2.5g/m2, as given IV over 4-24 hours, usually with leukovorin rescue. CCG protocols that include "escalating" IV methotrexate administer it 0.10 g/m2 over 10-15 min, then escalate each subsequent dose by 50mg/m2/dose to toxicity. When given PO, methotrexate is 15-20 mg/m2/day in maintenance. POG employs 4 PO doses of mtx, each 25mg/m2, for 100mg/m2/day in intensive continuation.
Mono's monocytes See CBC.
6 MP 6-mercaptopurine, Purinethol Chemotherapy drug.
MRD minimal residual disease MRD essay.
mtx methotrexate Chemotherapy drug.
NPO nothing by mouth Often a child has to be "NPO" or in other words eat nothing for a period before a procedure which requires anaesthesia.
neupogen see GCSF
neutrophils b A type of white blood cell that fights infection. See CBC.
OT off-treatment Says it all!
PCP Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia PCP is aggressive, fast-moving, and sometimes hard to detect. More on the routine antibiotic page.
PEG asp PEG asparaginase Chemotherapy drug
PLT platelets Values for healthy children: 160,000-500,000 mm3. See Blood Counts Explained on the Univ of Iowa College of Nursing site and Blood Counts Explained on the Childhood Cancer Guides web site.
PO by mouth When chemo drugs are taken by mouth, like as pills.
POG Pediatric Oncology Group Combined with CCG to form COG in the late 1990s. Older protocols are still designated "CCG" or "POG".
Port Port-a-cath or mediport Surgically implanted tubes or port used to deliver chemotherapy; see Ports.
PRBC packed red blood cells (blood transfusion)
PT physical therapy, sometimes for platelets b
RBC red blood cell Values for healthy children: 3.9-5.3 m/cm or 3.9-5.3 x 1012/L. See CBC.
RER rapid early responder In CCG protocols, RER is defined as less than 25% blasts at day 7 of treatment.
Roid rage while taking steroids* b
Segs neutrophils A type of white blood cell that fights infection. See CBC.
Septra an antibiotic Antibiotic given routinely to prevent PCP
SER slow early responder In CCG protocols, SER is defined as more than 25% blasts at day 7 of treatment.
SGOT aspartate aminotransferase; same as AST An enzyme that can be released into the blood stream by damaged tissues (like the liver). Values for healthy children: 0-36 IU/l. More information at Blood Counts Explained on the Childhood Cancer Guides web site.
STI571 Gleevec Used for CML; might be effective against Ph+ ALL.
SQ subcutaneous Shots administered under the skin.
TBI total body irradiation b
T-cell a sub-classification of ALL ALL involves either B- or T-cell lymphocytes. T-cell ALL is defined by the leukemic cell expression of the T-cell associated antigens called CD2, CD7, CD5, or CD3.
tegaderm
tel-aml1 b See Molecular Characterization page.
TIT triple intrathecal An IT containing three drugs: methotrexate, cytarabine, and hydrocortisone. Used on the CCG 1952 protocol (maybe others).
TG thioguanine Chemotherapy drug.
TNT Team in Training A fund-raising run by the Lymphoma-Leukemia Society.
TPMT Thiopurine methyltransferase assay TPMT metabolizes or breaks down the 6-MP or 6-TG. About 10% of the population has a deficiency of TPMT and can't break down the 6-MP and 6-TG, so the drug accumulates and causes problems.
translocation See Molecular Characterization page.
UTI urinary tract infection b
vinc vincristine Chemotherapy drug.
VP-16 Etoposide b
VZIG varicella-zoster immune globulin Given after chicken pox exposure to prevent chicken pox or at least to lessen the severity of the case.
WBC white blood cells White blood cells come in several types: neutrophil (seg neutrophil, gran), band neutrophil (eosinophil), monocyte, lymphocyte, basophil. Neutrophils fight bacterial infections. See Blood Counts Explained on the Univ of Iowa College of Nursing site and Blood Counts Explained on the Childhood Cancer Guides web site.
Zofran b An anti-nausea drug.
Zone while taking steroids* b

*suggestions for "in the zone"