Publication - Consultation paper

Review of Lung Cancer Quality Performance Indicators: consultation

Published: 14 Nov 2016

A consultation on the revised Lung Cancer Quality Performance Indicators (QPIs), which were revised following a formal review.

Review of Lung Cancer Quality Performance Indicators: consultation
Appendix 7: Glossary of Terms

Appendix 7: Glossary of Terms

Active treatment

Treatment which is intended to improve the cancer and/or alleviate symptoms, as opposed to supportive care.


Cancer that begins in cells that line certain internal organs and that have gland-like (secretory) properties.

Adjuvant Chemotherapy

The use of chemotherapy, after initial treatment by surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence of the cancer.


Removal of a sample of tissue from the body to assist in diagnosis of a disease.


The name given to a group of diseases that can occur in any organ of the body, and in blood, and which involve abnormal or uncontrolled growth of cells.


Treatment that combines chemotherapy with radiotherapy.


The use of drugs that kill cancer cells, or prevent or slow their growth.

Clinical trials

A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches or medicines work. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease.


The condition of having two or more diseases at the same time.

Combined modality

Integrated use of two or more different treatments (surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy) to combat the cancer.

Computerised Tomography ( CT)

An x-ray imaging technique, which allows detailed investigation of the internal organ of the body.

Curative intent

Treatment which is given with the aim of curing the cancer.


The study of the structure and function of cells under the microscope, and of their abnormalities.


The process of identifying a disease, such as cancer, from its signs and symptoms.

Extensive stage disease

A term used to define the extent of small cell lung cancer. Broadly this includes all small cell lung cancers that have metastasised outside of the thorax.

Gray (Gy)

Unit of absorbed radiation dose.

Histological/ histopathological

The study of the structure, composition and function of tissues under the microscope, and their abnormalities

Hyperfractionated radiotherapy

Radiotherapy treatment in which the total dose of radiation is divided into small doses and treatments are given more than once a day.


Describes a condition that cannot be treated by surgery.

Limited stage SCLC

A staging classification for small cell lung cancer developed by the Veterans' Administration Lung Study Group. Using the 7th edition of the TNM staging system this broadly includes T1-4, N1-3, M0 disease.


A surgical procedure that is used to take out part of the lung (called a lobe).

Lung Cancer

There are two types of primary lung cancer: Small Cell Lung Cancer ( SCLC) and Non Small Cell Lung Cancer ( NSCLC) which behave and respond to treatment differently.

Lymph nodes

Small bean shaped organs located along the lymphatic system. Nodes filter bacteria or cancer cells that might travel through the lymphatic system.


Cancerous. Malignant cells can invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.

Multi Disciplinary Team Meeting ( MDT)

A meeting which is held on a regular basis, which is made up of participants from various disciplines appropriate to the disease area, where diagnosis, management, and appropriate treatment of patients is discussed and decided.


The thin membrane that lines the chest cavity in the area between the lungs.


Spread of cancer away from the primary site to somewhere else via the bloodstream or the lymphatic system.


How much ill health a particular condition causes.


Either (1) the condition of being subject to death; or (2) the death rate, which reflects the number of deaths per unit of population in any specific region, age group, disease or other classification, usually expressed as deaths per 1000, 10,000 or 100,000.

Non Small Cell Lung Cancer ( NSCLC)

The most common type of lung cancer, there are three types of NSCLC: Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Adenocarcinoma and Large Cell Carcinoma.

Palliative treatment

Anything which serves to alleviate symptoms due to the underlying cancer but is not expected to cure it.


The study of disease processes with the aim of understanding their nature and causes. This is achieved by observing samples of fluid and tissues obtained from the living patient by various methods, or at post mortem.

Peripheral tumour

An abnormal mass of tissue situated in sub-segmental bronchi and is not usually visible on bronchoscopy.

Performance status

A measure of how well a patient is able to perform ordinary tasks and carry out daily activities ( e.g. WHO score of 0=asymptomatic, 4=bedridden).

Platinum-based chemotherapy

Chemotherapy drugs that contain derivatives of the metal platinum.


An operation to remove an entire lung.

Positron emission tomography / Computed Tomography ( PET CT)

A specialised imaging technique which demonstrates uptake of tracer in areas of high cell metabolism and can help differentiate between benign and malignant masses. It is most frequently used to help stage lung cancer by demonstrating or excluding distant metastases.

Predictive markers

A finding that can be used to help predict whether a person's cancer will respond to a specific treatment, may also describe something that increases a person's risk of developing a condition or disease.

Primary Tumour

Original site of the cancer. The mass of tumour cells at the original site of abnormal tissue growth.


An assessment of the expected future course and outcome of a person's disease.


The use of radiation, usually X-rays or gamma rays, to kill tumour cells.

Radical Treatment

Treatment which is given with the aim of destroying cancer cells to attain cure.

Small Cell Lung Cancer


A type of lung cancer in which the cells are small and round. SCLC is often fast growing and can spread quickly.

Surgery/Surgical Resection Resection

Surgical removal of the tumour/lesion.


Process of describing to what degree cancer has spread from its original site to another part of the body. Staging involves clinical, surgical and pathology assessments.

See TNM Classification

Stereotactic radiotherapy

A type of external radiotherapy that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver radiation to a tumour.


The percentage of people in a study or treatment group who are alive for a certain period of time after they were diagnosed with or treated for a disease, such as cancer.

Systemic Anti Cancer Therapy ( SACT)

Treatment of cancer using drugs which induce a reduction in tumour cell population, for example cancer chemotherapy or hormone therapy.


Thoracoscopy is the insertion of an endoscope, a narrow diameter tube with a viewing mirror or camera attachment, through a very small incision (cut) in the chest wall.


The extent to which something is poisonous or harmful.


A group or layer of cells that work together to perform a specific function.

TNM classification

TNM classification provides a system for staging the extent of cancer. T refers to the size of the primary tumour. N refers to the involvement of the lymph nodes. M refers to the presence of metastases or distant spread of the disease.

Tumour size

The size of a cancer measured by the amount of space taken up by the tumour.


Cancer in which the cells are mature and look like cells in the tissue from when it arose. Differentiated cancers tend to be decidedly less aggressive than undifferentiated cancers composed of immature cells.