clear cell sarcoma foundation

Definitions You Should Know


Clear Cell Sarcoma

Clear cell sarcoma (CCS) of soft tissue, not to be confused with clear cell sarcoma of the kidney, is a rare type of cancer primarily affecting teens and young adults. CCS tumors are most commonly found in the limbs, feet and hands. They also develop in the gastrointestinal tract and throughout the torso and have also been found in the genitals and head. Clear cell sarcoma is a translocation-associated sarcoma, typically EWSR1/ATF1.


In chromosomal translocations, parts of two chromosomes are swapped. This can result in an abnormal fusion of genes. The most common types of CCS harbor an EWSR1/ATF1 or a EWSR1/CREB1 translocation. There are some cases of CCS where the translocation is completely different.


A tissue graft or organ transplant from a donor of a different species from the recipient.

Repurposing Drugs

Discovering new uses for already approved drugs in an effort to speed up treatment in diseases with an unmet need, such as rare cancer.


Immunotherapy or biological therapy is a type of treatment that helps your immune system fight cancer. The immune system normally helps your body fight infections and other diseases. The immune system made up of white blood cells and organs and tissues of the lymph system. Scientists have found that the immune system can recognize the difference between healthy cells and cancer cells, and with immunotherapy work to eliminate the cancer cells. By itself, the immune system is not always good at destroying cancer cells.


Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) is an X-ray image made using a form of tomography in which a computer controls the motion of the X-ray source and detectors, processes the data, and produces the image.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique used to form pictures of the organs and tissues using strong magnets fields. MRI does not involve X-rays or ionizing radiation, which distinguishes it from CT and PET scans.


The changing of the structure of a gene, resulting in a variant form, caused by the alteration of single base units in DNA, or the deletion, insertion, or rearrangement of larger sections of genes or chromosomes. Mutations may be transmitted to subsequent generations if they occur in the DNA of germ cells (eggs or sperm).

Cell Line

A cell line refers to cells that are isolated from a patient’s tumor which will keep dividing and growing over time. Cancer cell lines are used in research to study the biology of a particular cancer and to test treatments that will affect the growth or survival of those cells. The premise of those studies is that the effective treatment will behave similarly on the cancer in the patient.

PDX Mouse Model

Tumor tissue that has been taken from a patient and implanted into mice for research purposes. PDX stands for patient derived xenograft. Cancer drugs and other types of treatment may be tested on xenografts to see how well they work before they are given to the patient. PDX mouse models may be used to determine the best treatment plan for a patient. They are also being used in the development of new cancer drugs.

Informed Consent

permission granted with the knowledge of the possible consequences, typically that which is given by a patient to a doctor for treatment or participation in a study with full knowledge of the possible risks and benefits.

PET Scan

Positron emission tomography (PET) scan, is an imaging test that helps reveal how your tissues and organs are functioning. A PET scan uses a radioactive drug (tracer) which accumulates in areas of higher chemical activity. This scan can sometimes detect disease before it shows up on other imaging tests. Cancer cells have a higher metabolic rate than noncancerous cells. Because of this high level of chemical activity, cancer cells show up as bright spots on PET scans. For this reason, PET scans are useful both for detecting cancer and for seeing if it has spread, seeing if a treatment is working and checking for a recurrence. However, these scans should be read carefully by your doctor, as it’s possible for noncancerous conditions to look like cancer on a scan. It’s also common for solid tumors to fail to appear on PET scans.

NCI-Designated Cancer Centers

NCI-designated Cancer Centers are defined as cancer centers that focus on some combination of laboratory research (studies on cells or animals), population science (looking at large groups of people for cancer prevention and control) and clinical research (clinical trials to test new cancer treatments on volunteers). Some cancer centers that focus on lab research do not care for patients.

NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers

Those facilities that go even further can earn the title NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers. They must conduct coordinated, high-quality programs in all 3 areas of research listed above. Plus, they must have a strong body of interactive research that bridges these different areas. Comprehensive cancer centers must put their cancer research to work, helping with cancer prevention and cancer care. They must also offer education for health care professionals and the general public. To be recognized by the NCI as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, an institution must pass rigorous review. All of the Comprehensive Cancer Centers see patients for cancer treatment.