GIST Support International - logo

GIST Support International - Glossary of Terms
GIST Imagery
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z all   

c-kitThis is the gene that encodes for (gives the DNA blueprint for production of) the KIT protein that is the growth factor receptor. GIST usually arises from an error in the structure of the KIT protein on some interstitial cells of Cajal because of a mutation in the c-kit gene controlling the formation of the KIT protein.
cafe au lait spotsTypically medium-brown pigmented skin spots that develop on the chest, back, pelvis, elbows and knees. These spots may exist at birth or appear during infancy. People affected by neurofibromatosis 1 gene deficiency usually have these pigmented spots, but they also are found in people without NF1.
cancerMalignancy. A cancer is a group of cells, usually derived from a single cell, that has lost its normal control mechanisms and thus has unregulated growth. Cancer is caused by damage or mutations in DNA. DNA is like a set of instructions for cells, telling them how to grow and divide. When a mutation occurs in DNA, normal cells will repair the mutation or simply die. In cancer, the cells continue living with the mutation and, as a result, grow and divide in a chaotic fashion. Cancerous (malignant) cells can develop from any tissue within any organ. As cancerous cells grow and multiply they form a tumor that invades and destroys adjacent tissues and can metastasize to form new tumors in other parts of the body.
carcinomaA cancer (malignant tumor) in the epithelial (skin) tissues that cover the internal and external surfaces of the body, in contrast to sarcoma (a cancer in non-epithelial connective tissues).
CD (cluster of differentiation)Cluster of differentiation (CD) molecules are markers on the cell surface, as recognized by specific sets of antibodies, used to identify the cell type, stage of differentiation and activity of a cell.
CD117(also known as KIT, Stem Cell Factor Receptor, and Steel Ligand Receptor). CD117 (KIT) is a transmembrane glycoprotein from the type III receptor tyrosine kinase family. KIT is the receptor for the growth factor Stem Cell Factor, also known as "steel factor" or "KIT ligand." As a result of interaction with Stem Cell Factor, KIT initiates essential signal transduction pathways that transmit biological signals for cellular proliferation, survival, differentiation, and migration. KIT is expressed on almost all hematopoietic progenitor cells, melanocytes, mast cells, and interstitial cells of Cajal from the digestive tract. Aberrant expression or mutations of the c-kit gene is involved in the pathogenesis of several cancers, including GIST. KIT is structurally similar to the Platelet-Derived Growth Factor receptor (PDGFR).
CD34CD34 is a transmembrane glycoprotein expressed on hematopoietic progenitor cells of all lineages as well as the most primitive pluripotential stem cells. CD34 antigen expression is highest on the most primitive stem cells and is gradually lost as lineage committed progenitors differentiate. The CD34 antigen is also present on capillary endothelial cells and on bone marrow stromal cells. The mucin-like structure of CD34 suggests a role in ceullar adhesion, possibly in adhesion of progenitors and stem cells to the stromal cells. About 70% of GISTs express CD34, including nearly all gastric GISTs but fewer intestinal GISTs.
chondromaA benign tumor containing the structural elements of cartilage. Chondromas in the lungs (pulmonary chondromas) are one of the tumor types in Carney Triad, along with GISTs (usually gastric) and paragangliomas.
cloneWith respect to GIST, a clone is a group of genetically identical cells descending from a single common cell within the tumor, therefore having the same mutation characteristics and same potential for drug resistance. Sometimes within a tumor that is under control with Gleevec a clone will appear that is resistant to the drug. This is sometimes called the "nodule within a mass" phenomenon.
codonA codon is a single unit in the genetic code, also called a triplet, a set of any three adjacent bases in the DNA (or RNA). It is made of a specific sequence of three consecutive nucleotides that specify a particular amino acid in a specific structural position in a polypeptide chain during the synthesis of a protein. Codons also serve as signals to start or stop protein synthesis. A single exon includes numerous codons. Overall, there are 43 = 64 different codon combinations. For example, the DNA sequence ATGGTTCAC contains the codons ATG, GTT and CTT, which respectively encode for the amino acids methonine, valine, and proline. So, this DNA sequence represents a protein sequence, three amino acids long. DNA is comprised of four types of bases, and so overall there are 43 = 64 different codon combinations. 61 specify the incorporation of an amino acid into a protein chain while the remaining three are stop codons that signal the end of a protein. The code is degenerate, meaning redundant: i.e. each amino acid has more than one codon.
CT or computerized tomography scanAlso known as CAT scan (computer assisted tomography). A diagnostic procedure in which the x-ray source rotates around the patient so that an x-ray beam is sent through the patient from many different angles. The x-rays are read by a computer, which constructs three-dimensional images of the body. CT is a painless procedure. An injection of intravenous contrast is usually used to make the blood vessels show up better.

back to top