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Medical Glossary

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  • A33
  • A type of monoclonal antibody used in cancer detection or therapy. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells.
  • AAP
  • An enzyme that is used as a biomarker to detect damage to the kidneys, and that may be used to help diagnose certain kidney disorders. It is found at high levels in the urine when there are kidney problems. Also called alanine aminopeptidase.
  • abarelix
  • A drug used to reduce the amount of testosterone made in patients with advanced symptomatic prostate cancer for which no other treatment options are available. It belongs to the family of drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists. Also called Plenaxis.
  • ABCD rating
  • A staging system for prostate cancer that uses ABCD. “A” and “B” refer to cancer that is confined to the prostate. “C” refers to cancer that has grown out of the prostate but has not spread to lymph nodes or other places in the body. “D” refers to cancer that has spread to lymph nodes or to other places in the body. Also called Jewett staging system and Whitmore-Jewett staging system.
  • abdomen
  • The area of the body that contains the pancreas, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, and other organs.
  • abdominal ultrasound
  • A procedure used to examine the organs in the abdomen. An ultrasound transducer (probe) is pressed firmly against the skin of the abdomen. High-energy sound waves from the transducer bounce off tissues and create echoes. The echoes are sent to a computer, which makes a picture called a sonogram. Also called transabdominal ultrasound.
  • abdominal x-ray
  • Having to do with the abdomen, which is the part of the body between the chest and the hips that contains the pancreas, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, and other organs.
  • abdominoperineal resection
  • Surgery to remove the anus, the rectum, and part of the sigmoid colon through an incision made in the abdomen. The end of the intestine is attached to an opening in the surface of the abdomen and body waste is collected in a disposable bag outside of the body. This opening is called a colostomy. Lymph nodes that contain cancer may also be removed during this operation.
  • Abegrin
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer and other conditions. Abegrin binds to a protein on the surface of blood vessels and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It may also prevent the spread of cancer. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent, a type of metastasis inhibitor, and a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called etaracizumab, humanized monoclonal antibody MEDI-522, and MEDI-522.
  • aberrant crypt foci
  • Clusters of abnormal tube-like glands in the lining of the colon and rectum. Aberrant crypt foci form before colorectal polyps and are one of the earliest changes that can be seen in the colon that may lead to cancer. Also called ACF.
  • ABI-007
  • A drug used to treat breast cancer that has spread or that has come back within 6 months after chemotherapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of newly diagnosed breast cancer and other types of cancer. ABI-007 is a type of mitotic inhibitor. Also called Abraxane, nanoparticle paclitaxel, paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation, and protein-bound paclitaxel.
  • abiraterone acetate
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of prostate cancer and breast cancer. It blocks tissues from making androgens (male hormones), such as testosterone. This may cause the death of cancer cells that need androgens to grow. It is a type of anti-androgen.
  • ablation
  • In medicine, the removal or destruction of a body part or tissue or its function. Ablation may be performed by surgery, hormones, drugs, radiofrequency, heat, or other methods.
  • abnormal
  • Not normal. An abnormal lesion or growth may be cancer, premalignant (likely to become cancer), or benign (not cancer).
  • ABO blood group system
  • A system used to group human blood into different types, based on the presence or absence of certain markers on the surface of red blood cells. The four main blood types are A, B, O, and AB. For a blood transfusion, the ABO blood group system is used to match the blood type of the donor and the person receiving the transfusion. People with blood type O can donate blood to anyone and are called universal donors. People with blood type AB can accept blood from all donors and are called universal recipients. People with type A or B can receive matching blood or type O blood.
  • Abraxane
  • A drug used to treat breast cancer that has spread or that has come back within 6 months after chemotherapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of newly diagnosed breast cancer and other types of cancer. Abraxane is a type of mitotic inhibitor. Also called ABI-007, nanoparticle paclitaxel, paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation, and protein-bound paclitaxel.
  • abscess
  • An enclosed collection of pus in tissues, organs, or confined spaces in the body. An abscess is a sign of infection and is usually swollen and inflamed.
  • absorption
  • The process of taking nutrients from the digestive system into the blood so they can be used in the body.
  • ABT-263
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of lymphomas and other types of cancer. It blocks some of the enzymes that keep cancer cells from dying. It is a type of Bcl-2 family inhibitor.
  • ABT-510
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of angiogenesis inhibitor.
  • ABT-751
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called sulfonamides.
  • ABT-869
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. ABT-869 blocks the action of several growth factors. It may also block the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow and may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of angiogensis inhibitor. Also called multitargeted receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor ABT-869.
  • ABT-888
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of breast cancers caused by mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks an enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. ABT-888 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called PARP-1 inhibitor ABT-888.
  • ABVD
  • An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine. Also called ABVD regimen.
  • ABVD regimen
  • An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine. Also called ABVD.
  • ABX-EGF
  • A human monoclonal antibody that is being used to treat colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients whose disease has not gotten better during or after treatment with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. ABX-EGF binds to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and may block tumor cell growth. Also called panitumumab and Vectibix.
  • ACAPHA
  • A mixture of six herbs that has been used in China to prevent and treat diseases such as lung and esophageal cancers. It is being studied in the United States and Canada in the prevention of lung cancer in people who used to smoke.
  • accelerated phase chronic myelogenous leukemia
  • A phase of chronic myelogenous leukemia in which the disease is progressing. In this phase, 10% to 19% of the cells in the blood and bone marrow are blast cells (immature blood cells).
  • accelerated radiation therapy
  • Radiation treatment in which the total dose of radiation is given over a shorter period of time (fewer days) compared to standard radiation therapy.
  • accelerated-fraction radiation therapy
  • Radiation treatment in which the total dose of radiation is divided into small doses and the treatments are given more than once a day. The total dose of radiation is also given over a shorter period of time (fewer days) compared to standard radiation therapy.
  • Accolate
  • A drug used to prevent and treat symptoms of asthma. It blocks substances that cause inflammation in the lungs. It is a type of antiasthmatic agent and a leukotriene receptor antagonist. Also called zafirlukast.
  • ACE inhibitor
  • A drug that is used to lower blood pressure. An ACE inhibitor is a type of antihypertensive agent. Also called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor.
  • acetaminophen
  • A drug that reduces pain and fever (but not inflammation). It belongs to the family of drugs called analgesics.
  • acetate
  • A form of acetic acid (an acid found in vinegar).
  • acetic acid
  • An acid found in vinegar. Acetic acid is also used to dissolve substances needed to make some medicines and other products, such as plastics.
  • acetyl group
  • A small molecule made of two carbon, three hydrogen, and one oxygen atoms. Acetyl groups are added to or removed from other molecules and may affect how the molecules act in the body.
  • acetylation
  • A chemical reaction in which a small molecule called an acetyl group is added to other molecules. Acetylation of proteins may affect how they act in the body.
  • acetylcholine
  • A chemical made by some types of nerve cells. It is used to send messages to other cells, including other nerve cells, muscle cells, and gland cells. It is released from the nerve ending and carries signals to cells on the other side of a synapse (space between nerve cells and other cells). Acetylcholine helps control memory and the action of certain muscles. It is a type of neurotransmitter.
  • acetylcysteine
  • A drug usually used to reduce the thickness of mucus and ease its removal. It is also used to reverse the toxicity of high doses of acetaminophen. Also called N-acetyl-L-cysteine and N-acetylcysteine.
  • acetyl-L-carnitine
  • A form of the natural substance carnitine that is being studied as a way to prevent tissue damage caused by chemotherapy. Carnitine is made in muscle and liver tissue and is found in certain foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, and some dairy products. It is used by many cells in the body to make energy from fat. Also called acetyl-L-carnitine hydrochloride and ALCAR.
  • acetyl-L-carnitine hydrochloride
  • A form of the natural substance carnitine that is being studied as a way to prevent tissue damage caused by chemotherapy. Carnitine is made in muscle and liver tissue and is found in certain foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, and some dairy products. It is used by many cells in the body to make energy from fat. Also called acetyl-L-carnitine and ALCAR.
  • ACF
  • Clusters of abnormal tube-like glands in the lining of the colon and rectum. ACF form before colorectal polyps and are one of the earliest changes that can be seen in the colon that may lead to cancer. Also called aberrant crypt foci.
  • achlorhydria
  • A lack of hydrochloric acid in the digestive juices in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid helps digest food.
  • acid
  • A chemical that gives off hydrogen ions in water and forms salts by combining with certain metals. Acids have a sour taste and turn certain dyes red. Some acids made by the body, such as gastric acid, can help the body work the way it should. An example of an acid is hydrochloric acid.
  • acid-base balance
  • In medicine, the state of having the right amount of acid and base in the blood and other body fluids. Keeping a normal acid-base balance is important for the body to work the way it should. Also called acid-base equilibrium.
  • acid-base equilibrium
  • In medicine, the state of having the right amount of acid and base in the blood and other body fluids. Keeping a normal acid-base equilibrium is important for the body to work the way it should. Also called acid-base balance.
  • acidification
  • The process of making or becoming an acid. An acid is a substance that gives off hydrogen ions in water and forms salts by combining with certain metals.
  • acidity
  • Refers to the amount of acid in a substance. An acid is a chemical that gives off hydrogen ions in water and forms salts by combining with certain metals.
  • acitretin
  • A substance that is used in the prevention of cancer and in the treatment of psoriasis. It belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids.
  • ACN53
  • A substance that has been studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. ACN53 is a weakened adenovirus that carries the p53 gene into tumor cells, causing them to die. It is a type of gene therapy. Also called rAd/p53, recombinant adenovirus-p53, and SCH-58500.
  • acne
  • A disorder of the skin in which oil glands and hair glands become inflamed.
  • acolbifene hydrochloride
  • A substance being studied in the prevention of breast cancer in women at high risk of breast cancer. Acolbifene hydrochloride binds to estrogen receptors in the body and blocks the effects of estrogen in the breast. It is a type of selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM).
  • acoustic neurofibromatosis
  • Having to do with sound or hearing.
  • acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • A disease caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). People with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome are at an increased risk for developing certain cancers and for infections that usually occur only in individuals with a weak immune system. Also called AIDS.
  • acridine carboxamide
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of topoisomerase inhibitor. Also called DACA.
  • acromegaly
  • A condition in which the pituitary gland makes too much growth hormone after normal growth of the skeleton is finished. This causes the bones of the hands, feet, head, and face to grow larger than normal. Acromegaly can be caused by a pituitary gland tumor.
  • acrylonitrile
  • A substance used to make plastics, rubber, and textiles. Being exposed to acrylonitrile may increase the risk of developing certain cancers, such as lung, brain, or prostate cancer.
  • AC-T
  • An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat breast cancer. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol). Also called AC-T regimen and AC-Taxol regimen.
  • AC-T regimen
  • An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat breast cancer. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol). Also called AC-T and AC-Taxol regimen.
  • AC-Taxol regimen
  • An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat breast cancer. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol). Also called AC-T and AC-T regimen.
  • ACTH
  • A hormone made in the pituitary gland. ACTH acts on the outer part of the adrenal gland to control its release of corticosteroid hormones. More ACTH is made during times of stress. Also called adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticotropin.
  • AC-TH regimen
  • An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat breast cancer. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol) and trastuzumab (Herceptin). Also called AC-T-T, AC-T-T regimen, and sequential AC/Taxol-Trastuzumab regimen.
  • Actimid
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of prostate cancer, multiple myeloma, and other types of cancer. Actimid is a form of the drug thalidomide. It stops the growth of blood vessels, stimulates the immune system, and may kill cancer cells. Actimid is a type of angiogenesis inhibitor and a type of immunomodulatory agent. Also called CC-4047 and pomalidomide.
  • Actinex
  • A drug put on the skin to treat growths caused by sun exposure. A form of Actinex that is taken by mouth is being studied in the treatment of prostate cancer. Actinex is an antioxidant, and it may block certain enzymes needed for tumor growth. Also called masoprocol, NDGA, and nordihydroguaiaretic acid.
  • actinic keratosis
  • A thick, scaly patch of skin that may become cancer. Also called senile keratosis and solar keratosis.
  • action study
  • In cancer prevention clinical trials, a study that focuses on finding out whether actions people take can prevent cancer.
  • Activase
  • A form of tissue plasminogen activator that is made in the laboratory. It helps dissolve blood clots and is used to treat heart attacks, strokes, and clots in the lungs. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of systemic thrombolytic agent. Also called Alteplase, r-tPA, and recombinant tissue plasminogen activator.
  • activate
  • In biology, to stimulate a cell in a resting state to become active. This causes biochemical and functional changes in the activated cell.
  • active surveillance
  • Closely monitoring a patient's condition but withholding treatment until symptoms appear or change. Also called expectant management, observation, and watchful waiting.
  • activities of daily living
  • The tasks of everyday life. These activities include eating, dressing, getting into or out of a bed or chair, taking a bath or shower, and using the toilet. Instrumental activities of daily living are activities related to independent living and include preparing meals, managing money, shopping, doing housework, and using a telephone. Also called ADL.
  • Actos
  • A drug that is used to treat type 2 diabetes and is being studied in the prevention of head and neck cancer. It may be able to stop leukoplakia (a condition affecting the mouth ) from developing into cancer. It is a type of thiazolidinedione. Also called pioglitazone.
  • AC-T-T
  • An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat breast cancer. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol) and trastuzumab (Herceptin). Also called AC-T-T regimen, AC-TH regimen, and sequential AC/Taxol-Trastuzumab regimen.
  • AC-T-T regimen
  • An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat breast cancer. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol) and trastuzumab (Herceptin). Also called AC-T-T, AC-TH regimen, and sequential AC/Taxol-Trastuzumab regimen.
  • acupoint
  • A specific spot on the body where an acupuncture needle may be inserted to control pain and other symptoms. Also called acupuncture point.
  • acupressure
  • The application of pressure or localized massage to specific sites on the body to control symptoms such as pain or nausea. It is a type of complementary and alternative medicine.
  • acupuncture needle
  • The technique of inserting thin needles through the skin at specific points on the body to control pain and other symptoms. It is a type of complementary and alternative medicine.
  • acupuncture point
  • A specific spot on the body where an acupuncture needle may be inserted to control pain and other symptoms. Also called acupoint.
  • acupuncture point injection
  • A procedure in which drugs, vitamins, herbal extracts, or other fluids are injected into the body at an acupuncture point using a syringe and needle.
  • acupuncture-like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
  • A procedure in which mild electric currents are applied to certain acupuncture points (spots on the body where an acupuncture needle may be inserted to control pain and other symptoms) on the skin. It is being studied in the treatment of dry mouth caused by radiation therapy for cancer. Also called ALTENS.
  • acupuncturist
  • A person trained in acupuncture (therapy that uses thin needles inserted through the skin at specific points on the body to control pain and other symptoms). Acupuncture is a type of complementary and alternative medicine.
  • acustimulation
  • Mild electrical stimulation of acupuncture points to control symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
  • acute bacterial prostatitis
  • Inflammation of the prostate gland that begins suddenly and gets worse quickly. It is caused by a bacterial infection. Symptoms include fever and chills, body aches, pain in the lower back and genital area, a burning feeling during urination, and problems with emptying the bladder all the way.
  • acute leukemia
  • Symptoms or signs that begin and worsen quickly; not chronic.
  • acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute lymphocytic leukemia and ALL.
  • acute lymphocytic leukemia
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute lymphoblastic leukemia and ALL.
  • acute myeloblastic leukemia
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, AML, and ANLL.
  • acute myelogenous leukemia
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, AML, and ANLL.
  • acute myeloid leukemia
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, AML, and ANLL.
  • acute nonlymphocytic leukemia
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, AML, and ANLL.
  • acute pain
  • Pain that comes on quickly, can be severe, but lasts a relatively short time.
  • acute promyelocytic leukemia
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) type of acute myeloid leukemia in which there are too many immature blood-forming cells in the blood and bone marrow. It is usually marked by an exchange of parts of chromosomes 15 and 17. Also called APL and promyelocytic leukemia.
  • acyclovir
  • A substance used to prevent or treat cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex infections that may occur when the body is immunosuppressed. It belongs to the family of drugs called antivirals.
  • AD 32
  • A drug used to treat bladder cancer that does not respond to BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin). It is an anthracycline and is a type of antitumor antibiotic. Also called valrubicin.
  • ADCC
  • A type of immune reaction in which a target cell or microbe is coated with antibodies and killed by certain types of white blood cells. The white blood cells bind to the antibodies and release substances that kill the target cells or microbes. Also called antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity.
  • Adderall
  • A combination of drugs used as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder). It is a type of stimulant. Also called dextroamphetamine-amphetamine.
  • addiction
  • Uncontrollable craving, seeking, and use of a substance such as a drug or alcohol.
  • adenine
  • A chemical compound that is used to make one of the building blocks of DNA and RNA. It is also a part of many substances in the body that give energy to cells. Adenine is a type of purine.
  • adenocarcinoma
  • Cancer that begins in cells that line certain internal organs and that have gland-like (secretory) properties.
  • adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • A rare type of cancer that usually begins in the salivary glands.
  • adenoma
  • A tumor that is not cancer. It starts in gland-like cells of the epithelial tissue (thin layer of tissue that covers organs, glands, and other structures within the body).
  • adenopathy
  • Large or swollen lymph glands.
  • adenosarcoma
  • A tumor that is a mixture of an adenoma (a tumor that starts in the gland-like cells of epithelial tissue) and a sarcoma (a tumor that starts in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue). An example of an adenosarcoma is Wilms tumor.
  • adenosine triphosphate
  • A substance present in all living cells that provides energy for many metabolic processes and is involved in making RNA. Adenosine triphosphate made in the laboratory is being studied in patients with advanced solid tumors to see if it can decrease weight loss and improve muscle strength. Also called ATP.
  • adenosis
  • A disease or abnormal change in a gland. Breast adenosis is a benign condition in which the lobules are larger than usual.
  • adenosquamous carcinoma
  • A type of cancer that contains two types of cells: squamous cells (thin, flat cells that line certain organs) and gland-like cells.
  • adenovirus
  • A group of viruses that cause respiratory tract and eye infections. Adenoviruses used in gene therapy are altered to carry a specific tumor-fighting gene.
  • ADH
  • A benign (not cancer) condition in which there are more cells than normal in the lining of breast ducts and the cells look abnormal under a microscope. Having ADH increases the risk of breast cancer. Also called atypical ductal breast hyperplasia and atypical ductal hyperplasia.
  • ADI-PEG 20
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of melanoma, liver cancer, and other types of cancer. It breaks down the amino acid arginine and may block the growth of cancer cells that need arginine to grow. It is a type of iminohydrolase. Also called pegylated arginine deiminase.
  • adjunct agent
  • In cancer therapy, a drug or substance used in addition to the primary therapy.
  • adjunct therapy
  • Another treatment used together with the primary treatment. Its purpose is to assist the primary treatment. Also called adjunctive therapy.
  • adjunctive therapy
  • Another treatment used together with the primary treatment. Its purpose is to assist the primary treatment. Also called adjunct therapy.
  • adjustment disorder
  • A condition in which a person responds to a stressful event (such as an illness, job loss, or divorce) with extreme emotions and actions that cause problems at work and home.
  • adjuvant therapy
  • Additional cancer treatment given after the primary treatment to lower the risk that the cancer will come back. Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, or biological therapy.
  • ADL
  • Activities of daily living. The tasks of everyday life. Basic ADLs include eating, dressing, getting into or out of a bed or chair, taking a bath or shower, and using the toilet. Instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) are activities related to independent living and include preparing meals, managing money, shopping, doing housework, and using a telephone. Also called activities of daily living.
  • administration
  • In medicine, the act of giving a treatment, such as a drug, to a patient. It can also refer to the way it is given, the dose, or how often it is given.
  • adnexal mass
  • A lump in tissue near the uterus, usually in the ovary or fallopian tube. Adnexal masses include ovarian cysts, ectopic (tubal) pregnancies, and benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer) tumors.
  • adrenal cancer
  • Cancer that forms in the tissues of the adrenal glands (two glands located just above the kidneys). The adrenal glands make hormones that control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important body functions. Adrenal cancer that starts in the outside layer of the adrenal gland is called adrenocortical carcinoma. Adrenal cancer that starts in the center of the adrenal gland is called malignant pheochromocytoma.
  • adrenal cortex
  • The outer part of the adrenal gland (a small organ on top of each kidney). The adrenal cortex makes androgen and corticosteroid hormones.
  • adrenal gland
  • A small gland that makes steroid hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These hormones help control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important body functions. There are two adrenal glands, one on top of each kidney. Also called suprarenal gland.
  • adrenal medulla
  • The inner part of the adrenal gland (a small organ on top of each kidney). The adrenal medulla makes chemicals such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) which are involved in sending nerve signals.
  • adrenalectomy
  • Surgery to remove one or both adrenal glands (a small organ on top of each kidney).
  • adrenaline
  • A hormone and neurotransmitter. Also called epinephrine.
  • adrenocortical
  • Having to do with or made by the outer layer of the adrenal gland, which produces steroid hormones. There is an adrenal gland on top of each kidney.
  • adrenocortical cancer
  • A rare cancer that forms in the outer layer of tissue of the adrenal gland (a small organ on top of each kidney that makes steroid hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline to control heart rate, blood pressure, and other body functions). Also called adrenocortical carcinoma and cancer of the adrenal cortex.
  • adrenocortical carcinoma
  • A rare cancer that forms in the outer layer of tissue of the adrenal gland (a small organ on top of each kidney that makes steroid hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline to control heart rate, blood pressure, and other body functions). Also called adrenocortical cancer and cancer of the adrenal cortex.
  • adrenocorticotropic hormone
  • A hormone made in the pituitary gland. Adrenocorticotropic hormone acts on the outer part of the adrenal gland to control its release of corticosteroid hormones. More adrenocorticotropic hormone is made during times of stress. Also called ACTH and corticotropin.
  • AdreView
  • A substance used to detect certain types of tumors, including pheochromocytomas and neuroblastomas. It contains a substance called iobenguane linked to a radioactive substance called iodine I 123. The tumor cells take up the AdreView, and a machine is used to detect where the cancer cells are in the body. It is a type of radioimaging agent. Also called iobenguane I 123.
  • Adriamycin PFS
  • A drug that is used to treat many types of cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Adriamycin PFS comes from the bacterium Streptomyces peucetius . It damages DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of anthracycline antitumor antibiotic. Also called Adriamycin RDF, doxorubicin, doxorubicin hydrochloride, hydroxydaunorubicin, and Rubex.
  • Adriamycin RDF
  • A drug that is used to treat many types of cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Adriamycin RDF comes from the bacterium Streptomyces peucetius . It damages DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of anthracycline antitumor antibiotic. Also called Adriamycin PFS, doxorubicin, doxorubicin hydrochloride, hydroxydaunorubicin, and Rubex.
  • adult rickets
  • A condition in adults in which bones become soft and deformed because they don’t have enough calcium and phosphorus. It is usually caused by not having enough vitamin D in the diet, not getting enough sunlight, or a problem with the way the body uses vitamin D. Symptoms include bone pain and muscle weakness. When the condition occurs in children, it is called rickets. Also called osteomalacia.
  • adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) type of T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma caused by the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). It is marked by bone and skin lesions, high calcium levels, and enlarged lymph nodes, spleen, and liver. Also called ATLL.
  • advance directive
  • A legal document that states the treatment or care a person wishes to receive or not receive if he or she becomes unable to make medical decisions (for example, due to being unconscious or in a coma). Some types of advance directives are living wills and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders.
  • advanced cancer
  • Cancer that has spread to other places in the body and usually cannot be cured or controlled with treatment.
  • advanced malignant mesothelioma
  • Malignant mesothelioma that is stage II, III, or IV.
  • advanced practice nurse
  • A registered nurse who has additional education and training in how to diagnose and treat disease. Advanced practice nurses are licensed at the state level and certified by national nursing organizations. In cancer care, an advanced practice nurse may manage the primary care of patients and their families, based on a practice agreement with a doctor. Also called APN, NP, and nurse practitioner.
  • adverse effect
  • An unexpected medical problem that happens during treatment with a drug or other therapy. Adverse effects do not have to be caused by the drug or therapy, and they may be mild, moderate, or severe. Also called adverse event.
  • adverse event
  • An unexpected medical problem that happens during treatment with a drug or other therapy. Adverse events do not have to be caused by the drug or therapy, and they may be mild, moderate, or severe. Also called adverse effect.
  • Advil
  • A drug used to treat fever, swelling, pain, and redness by preventing the body from making a substance that causes inflammation. It is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Also called ibuprofen and Motrin.
  • AE-941
  • A substance made from shark cartilage that is being studied for its ability to prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent.
  • AEE788
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors and angiogenesis inhibitors.
  • AEG35156
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. AEG35156 may kill cancer cells by blocking the production of a protein called XIAP that helps cells live longer. It also makes cancer cells more sensitive to anticancer drugs. It is a type of antisense oligonucleotide, and a type of chemosensitizing agent. Also called GEM640.
  • aerobic
  • In biochemistry, reactions that need oxygen to happen or happen when oxygen is present.
  • aerobic exercise
  • Physical activity that increases the heart rate and the body’s use of oxygen. It helps improve a person’s physical fitness.
  • aerobic metabolism
  • A chemical process in which oxygen is used to make energy from carbohydrates (sugars). Also called aerobic respiration, cell respiration, and oxidative metabolism.
  • aerobic respiration
  • A chemical process in which oxygen is used to make energy from carbohydrates (sugars). Also called aerobic metabolism, cell respiration, and oxidative metabolism.
  • aerodigestive tract
  • The combined organs and tissues of the respiratory tract and the upper part of the digestive tract (including the lips, mouth, tongue, nose, throat, vocal cords, and part of the esophagus and windpipe).
  • aerosolize
  • In medicine, to turn a liquid drug into a fine mist that can be inhaled.
  • affected
  • Individuals in a pedigree who exhibit the specific phenotype under study.
  • affinity
  • In chemistry and biology, the strength of the attaction between two substances, such as two chemicals, or an antigen and an antibody.
  • affinity reagent
  • In chemistry and biology, a compound that binds specific substances, such as proteins or nucleic acids. Many affinity reagents are antibodies. They are used to analyze tissue samples to help diagnose diseases.
  • Afinitor
  • A drug used to treat advanced kidney cancer that did not respond to treatment with certain other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Afinitor stops cancer cells from dividing and may block the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It also decreases the body’s immune responses. It is a type of immunosuppressant and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called everolimus and RAD001.
  • aflatoxin
  • A harmful substance made by certain types of mold ( Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus ) that is often found on poorly stored grains and nuts. Consumption of foods contaminated with aflatoxin is a risk factor for primary liver cancer.
  • aflibercept
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. Aflibercept blocks the action of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called vascular endothelial growth factor trap and VEGF Trap.
  • AFP
  • A protein normally produced by a fetus. AFP levels are usually undetectable in the blood of healthy adult men or women (who are not pregnant). An elevated level of AFP suggests the presence of either a primary liver cancer or germ cell tumor. Also called alpha-fetoprotein.
  • AFP464
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. AFP464 kills cancer cells or stops them from dividing. It is a type of aminoflavone.
  • AG-013736
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors and protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
  • AG014699
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of breast cancers caused by mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks an enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. AG014699 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called PARP-1 inhibitor AG014699.
  • AG2037
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called glycinamide ribonucleotide formyl transferase inhibitors.
  • AG3340
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor and belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called prinomastat.
  • AG337
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of liver cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called thymidylate synthase inhibitors. Also called nolatrexed and Thymitaq.
  • AGC
  • A term used to describe abnormal cells that come from inside the cervix or from the lining of the uterus. These abnormal cells are found in a small number of Pap smears (a procedure used to detect cervical cancer) and may be a sign of more serious lesions or cancer. The term used to be atypical glandular cells of uncertain significance (AGUS). Also called atypical glandular cell.
  • agent study
  • In cancer prevention, a clinical trial that studies whether taking certain medicines, vitamins, minerals, or food supplements can prevent cancer. Also called chemoprevention study.
  • age-related macular degeneration
  • A condition in which there is a slow breakdown of cells in the center of the retina (the light-sensitive layers of nerve tissue at the back of the eye). This blocks vision in the center of the eye and can cause problems with activities such as reading and driving. Age-related macular degeneration is most often seen in people who are over the age of 50. Also called AMD, ARMD, and macular degeneration.
  • agglutinin
  • A substance that makes particles (such as bacteria or cells) stick together to form a clump or a mass.
  • aggravating factor
  • Something that makes a condition worse. For example, tobacco smoke is an aggravating factor for asthma.
  • aggressive lymphoma
  • A quickly growing cancer.
  • agitation
  • A condition in which a person is unable to relax and be still. The person may be very tense and irritable, and become easily annoyed by small things. He or she may be eager to have an argument, and be unwilling to work with caregivers to make the situation better.
  • agnogenic myeloid metaplasia
  • A progressive, chronic disease in which the bone marrow is replaced by fibrous tissue and blood is made in organs such as the liver and the spleen, instead of in the bone marrow. This disease is marked by an enlarged spleen and progressive anemia. Also called chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis, idiopathic myelofibrosis, myelosclerosis with myeloid metaplasia, and primary myelofibrosis.
  • agonist
  • A drug that triggers an action from a cell or another drug.
  • agranulocyte
  • A type of white blood cell. Monocytes and lymphocytes are agranulocytes.
  • AGUS
  • A term that has been used to describe abnormal cells that come from glands in the walls of the cervix (the lower, narrow end of the uterus). These abnormal cells are found in a small number of Pap smears (a procedure used to detect cervical cancer) and may be a sign of more serious lesions or cancer. The term used now is atypical glandular cells. Also called atypical glandular cells of uncertain significance and atypical glandular cells of undetermined significance.
  • AHA
  • One of a group of substances that are found in several types of fruit and in milk. They are used in skin care products to reduce wrinkles and soften the skin. Examples of AHAs are glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid. Also called alpha hydroxyl acid and fruit acid.
  • AIDS-related cancer
  • A disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). People with AIDS are at an increased risk for developing certain cancers and for infections that usually occur only in individuals with a weak immune system. Also called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
  • AJCC staging system
  • A system developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer for describing the extent of cancer in a patient’s body. The descriptions include TNM: T describes the size of the tumor and if it has invaded nearby tissue, N describes any lymph nodes that are involved, and M describes metastasis (spread of cancer from one body part to another).
  • Akt
  • A group of enzymes involved in several processes related to cell growth and survival. Akt enzymes help to transfer signals inside cells. An Akt enzyme is a type of serine/threonine protein kinase. Also called protein kinase B.
  • alanine aminopeptidase
  • An enzyme that is used as a biomarker to detect damage to the kidneys, and that may be used to help diagnose certain kidney disorders. It is found at high levels in the urine when there are kidney problems. Also called AAP.
  • alanine transferase
  • An enzyme found in the liver and other tissues. A high level of alanine transferase released into the blood may be a sign of liver damage, cancer, or other diseases. Also called serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase and SGPT.
  • alanosine
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. Also called SDX-102.
  • albinism
  • A group of genetic conditions marked by little or none of the pigment melanin in the skin, hair, and/or eyes. People with albinism may have vision problems and white or yellow hair; reddish, violet, blue or brown eyes; and pale skin.
  • albumin
  • A type of protein found in blood, egg white, milk, and other substances.
  • ALCAR
  • A form of the natural substance carnitine that is being studied as a way to prevent tissue damage caused by chemotherapy. Carnitine is made in muscle and liver tissue and is found in certain foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, and some dairy products. It is used by many cells in the body to make energy from fat. Also called acetyl-L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine hydrochloride.
  • ALCL
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that is usually of the T-cell type. The cancer cells express a marker called CD30 or Ki-1 on the surface, and may appear in the lymph nodes, skin, bones, soft tissues, lungs, or liver. Also called anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
  • alcohol ablation
  • An injection of ethanol (alcohol) through the skin directly into a tumor to kill cancer cells. Ultrasound or a CT scan is used to guide the needle into the tumor. Also called ethanol ablation, PEI, and percutaneous ethanol injection.
  • alcohol dependence
  • A chemical substance found in beer, wine, and liquor. Alcohol is also found in some medicines, mouthwashes, essential oils (scented liquid taken from plants), and household products.
  • alcoholism
  • A disease in which a person craves alcohol, is unable to limit his or her drinking, needs to drink greater amounts to get the same effect, and has withdrawal symptoms after stopping alcohol use. Alcoholism affects physical and mental health, and causes problems with family, friends, and work. Also called alcohol dependence.
  • Aldara
  • A drug used to treat early basal cell skin cancer and certain other skin conditions. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Aldara is a type of biological response modifier. Also called imiquimod.
  • aldehyde
  • A type of chemical substance made from alcohol. Aldehydes are found in essential oils (scented liquid taken from plants).
  • aldesleukin
  • A drug used to treat some types of cancer. It is a form of interleukin-2, a cytokine made by leukocytes (white blood cells), that is made in the laboratory. Aldesleukin increases the activity and growth of white blood cells called T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes. It is a type of biological response modifier. Also called Proleukin and recombinant human interleukin-2.
  • aldosterone
  • A steroid hormone made by the adrenal cortex (the outer layer of the adrenal gland). It helps control the balance of water and salts in the kidney by keeping sodium in and releasing potassium from the body. Too much aldosterone can cause high blood pressure and a build-up of fluid in body tissues. Aldosterone is a type of mineralocorticoid hormone.
  • Aldrich syndrome
  • An inherited immune disorder that occurs in young boys. It causes eczema (a type of skin inflammation), a decrease in the number of platelets (blood cells that help prevent bleeding), and frequent bacterial infections. People with Aldrich syndrome are at increased risk of developing leukemia and lymphoma. Also called Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.
  • alefacept
  • A drug that is used to treat certain skin conditions and is being studied in the treatment of cutaneous (skin-related) T-cell cancer and T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Alefacept is made by combining part of an antibody with a protein that blocks the growth some types of T cells. It is a type of fusion protein and a type of immunosuppressant. Also called Amevive.
  • alemtuzumab
  • A type of monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of leukemia. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells. Also called Campath-1H.
  • alendronate sodium
  • A drug used to treat certain bone conditions, such as osteoporosis and Paget disease of the bone. It is also being studied in the treatment of hypercalcemia (high levels of calcium in the blood) and bone pain caused by cancer. Alendronate sodium slows the breakdown of bone and prevents the loss of calcium. It is a type of bisphosphonate. Also called Fosamax.
  • ALH
  • A benign (not cancer) condition in which there are more cells than normal in the breast lobules and the cells look abnormal under a microscope. Having ALH increases the risk of breast cancer. Also called atypical lobular breast hyperplasia and atypical lobular hyperplasia.
  • Alimta
  • A drug used alone or with another drug to treat certain types of non-small cell lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Alimta blocks DNA synthesis and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of folate antagonist. Also called LY231514 and pemetrexed disodium.
  • alkalinity
  • Refers to the amount of alkali. An alkali is a chemical that can dissolve in water, combine with acids to form salts, and make acids less acidic.
  • alkalinization
  • A chemical that can dissolve in water, combine with acids to form salts, and make acids less acidic. Alkalis have a bitter taste and turn certain dyes blue. Some alkalis can help the body work the way it should. An example of an alkali is sodium hydroxide.
  • alkaloid
  • A member of a large group of chemicals that are made by plants and have nitrogen in them. Some alkaloids have been shown to work against cancer.
  • Alkeran
  • A drug that is used to treat multiple myeloma and ovarian epithelial cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents. Also called melphalan.
  • alkylating agent
  • A type of drug that is used in the treatment of cancer. It interferes with the cell's DNA and inhibits cancer cell growth.
  • Allegra
  • A drug used to treat certain allergy symptoms. It blocks a chemical released during an allergic response that causes itching, sneezing, runny nose, wheezing, and watery eyes. It is a type of antihistamine. Also called fexofenadine.
  • allele
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute lymphocytic leukemia.
  • allelic heterogeneity
  • Different mutations in the same gene that cause different phenotypic manifestations or severity of disease.
  • allergen
  • A substance that causes an allergic response. Examples include pollen, molds, and certain foods.
  • allergic response
  • A hypersensitive immune reaction to a substance that normally is harmless or would not cause an immune response in most people. An allergic response may cause harmful symptoms such as itching or inflammation or tissue injury.
  • allogeneic bone marrow transplantation
  • A procedure in which a person receives stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) from a genetically similar, but not identical, donor.
  • allogeneic stem cell transplantation
  • Taken from different individuals of the same species. Also called allogenic.
  • allogenic
  • Taken from different individuals of the same species. Also called allogeneic.
  • allograft
  • The transplant of an organ, tissue, or cells from one individual to another individual of the same species who is not an identical twin.
  • allopathic medicine
  • A system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Also called biomedicine, conventional medicine, mainstream medicine, orthodox medicine, and Western medicine.
  • allopurinol
  • A drug that lowers high levels of uric acid (a byproduct of metabolism) in the blood caused by some cancer treatments.
  • Allovectin-7
  • A substance that is being studied as a gene therapy agent in the treatment of cancer. It increases the ability of the immune system to recognize cancer cells and kill them.
  • all-trans retinoic acid
  • A nutrient that that body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. All-trans retinoic acid is made in the body from vitamin A and helps cells to grow and develop, especially in the embryo. A form of all-trans retinoic acid made in the laboratory is put on the skin to treat conditions such as acne and is taken by mouth to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (a fast-growing cancer in which there are too many immature blood-forming cells in the blood and bone marrow). All-trans retinoic acid is being studied in the prevention and treatment of other types of cancer. Also called ATRA, retinoic acid, tretinoin, and vitamin A acid.
  • aloe-emodin
  • A substance found in certain plants, including aloe vera. It belongs to a family of compounds called anthraquinones, which have shown anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects.
  • alopecia
  • The lack or loss of hair from areas of the body where hair is usually found. Alopecia can be a side effect of some cancer treatments.
  • Aloxi
  • A drug used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer treatment. It is a type of serotonin receptor antagonist and a type of antiemetic. Also called palonosetron hydrochloride.
  • alpha hydroxyl acid
  • One of a group of substances that are found in several types of fruit and in milk. They are used in skin care products to reduce wrinkles and soften the skin. Examples of alpha hydroxyl acids are glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid. Also called AHA and fruit acid.
  • alpha-adrenergic antagonist
  • A substance that relaxes muscle tissue in blood vessels and in the prostate gland, which improves the flow of urine and blood. Alpha-adrenergic antagonists are used to treat the symptoms of many conditions, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), high blood pressure, and some blood circulation problems. Also called alpha-blocker.
  • alpha-blocker
  • A substance that relaxes muscle tissue in blood vessels and in the prostate gland, which improves the flow of urine and blood. Alpha-blockers are used to treat the symptoms of many conditions, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), high blood pressure, and some blood circulation problems. Also called alpha-adrenergic antagonist.
  • alpha-fetoprotein
  • A protein normally produced by a fetus. AFP levels are usually undetectable in the blood of healthy adult men or women (who are not pregnant). An elevated level of AFP suggests the presence of either a primary liver cancer or germ cell tumor. Also called AFP.
  • alpha-lipoic acid
  • A substance that is being studied for its ability to protect normal cells from the side effects of chemotherapy and prevent peripheral neuropathy (numbness, tingling, burning, and weakness in the hands or feet). Alpha-lipoic acid is made by the body and can be found in foods such as organ meats, spinach, broccoli, peas, brussel sprouts, and rice bran. It can also be made in the laboratory. Alpha-lipoic acid is a type of antioxidant and chemoprotective agent.
  • alprazolam
  • A drug used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. It is being studied in the treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by some cancer treatments. It is a type of benzodiazepine. Also called Xanax.
  • alprostadil
  • A drug that is used to treat impotence (inability to have an erection) and is being studied in the treatment of sexual problems in men who have had surgery for prostate cancer. It is a type of vasodilator. Also called PGE1 and prostaglandin E1.
  • ALTENS
  • A procedure in which mild electric currents are applied to certain acupuncture points (spots on the body where an acupuncture needle may be inserted to control pain and other symptoms) on the skin. It is being studied in the treatment of dry mouth caused by radiation therapy for cancer. Also called acupuncture-like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
  • Alteplase
  • A form of tissue plasminogen activator that is made in the laboratory. It helps dissolve blood clots and is used to treat heart attacks, strokes, and clots in the lungs. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of systemic thrombolytic agent. Also called Activase, r-tPA, and recombinant tissue plasminogen activator.
  • alteration
  • A change resulting in something that is different from the original.
  • alternative medicine
  • Practices used instead of standard treatments. They generally are not recognized by the medical community as standard or conventional medical approaches. Examples of alternative medicine include dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, acupuncture, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation.
  • altretamine
  • An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.
  • aluminum sulfate
  • A metallic element that is found combined with other elements in the earth’s crust. It is also found in small amounts in soil, water, and many foods. It is used in medicine and dentistry and in many products such as foil, cans, pots and pans, airplanes, siding, and roofs. High levels of aluminum in the body can be harmful.
  • ALVAC-CEA vaccine
  • A cancer vaccine containing a canary pox virus (ALVAC) combined with the human carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) gene.
  • alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma
  • A soft tissue tumor that is most common in older children and teenagers. It begins in embryonic muscle cells (cells that develop into muscles in the body). It can occur at many places in the body, but usually occurs in the trunk, arms, or legs. Also called ARMS.
  • alveolar soft part sarcoma
  • A soft tissue tumor that is most common in older children and teenagers. It begins in the soft supporting tissue that connects and surrounds the organs and other tissues. Alveolar soft part sarcoma usually occurs in the legs, but can also occur in the arms, hands, head, or neck. It can cause the growth of new blood vessels that help the tumor grow and spread. Also called ASPS.
  • alveoli
  • Tiny air sacs at the end of the bronchioles in the lungs.
  • alvocidib
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. It stops cells from dividing and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor. Also called flavopiridol and HMR 1275.
  • Alzheimer dementia
  • A brain disorder that usually starts in late middle age or old age and gets worse over time. Symptoms include loss of memory, confusion, difficulty thinking, and changes in language, behavior, and personality. Also called Alzheimer disease.
  • Alzheimer disease
  • A brain disorder that usually starts in late middle age or old age and gets worse over time. Symptoms include loss of memory, confusion, difficulty thinking, and changes in language, behavior, and personality. Also called Alzheimer dementia.
  • Amanita phalloides
  • A type of poisonous mushroom that has harmful effects on the kidneys and liver. It is responsible for most fatal cases of mushroom poisoning. Also called death cap.
  • amantadine hydrochloride
  • A drug used to treat infections caused by the influenza A virus. It blocks the ability of the virus to infect cells and to make more virus particles. It is also used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson disease. Amantidine hydrochloride is a type of antiviral agent.
  • Ambien
  • A drug used to treat insomnia (inability to sleep), and anxiety. It is a type of imidazopyridine (sedative hypnotic). Also called zolpidem.
  • AMD 3100
  • A condition in which there is a slow breakdown of cells in the center of the retina (the light-sensitive layers of nerve tissue at the back of the eye). This blocks vision in the center of the eye and can cause problems with activities such as reading and driving. AMD is most often seen in people who are over the age of 50. Also called age-related macular degeneration, ARMD, and macular degeneration.
  • amelanotic melanoma
  • A type of skin cancer in which the cells do not make the pigment melanin. Skin lesions are often irregular and may be pink, red, or have light brown, tan, or gray at the edges.
  • amethopterin
  • A drug used to treat some types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and severe skin conditions, such as psoriasis. Amethopterin stops cells from making DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimetabolite. Also called methotrexate, MTX, and Rheumatrex.
  • Amevive
  • A drug that is used to treat certain skin conditions and is being studied in the treatment of cutaneous (skin-related) T-cell cancer and T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Amevive is made by combining part of an antibody with a protein that blocks the growth some types of T cells. It is a type of fusion protein and a type of immunosuppressant. Also called alefacept.
  • AMG 162
  • A type of monoclonal antibody being studied in the treatment of multiple myeloma (a cancer that forms in bones) and in the prevention and treatment of bone metastases (cancer that has spread to bone from another organ). Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. AMG 162 binds to the protein RANKL and helps keep bone from breaking down. Also called denosumab.
  • AMG 531
  • A drug used to treat patients with immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) who do not get better with other forms of treatment. In ITP, platelets (cells that cause blood clots to form) are destroyed by the immune system. AMG 531 is being studied as a way to treat low platelet counts caused by chemotherapy. It binds to the thrombopoietin receptor and causes the bone marrow to make more platelets. AMG 531 is also being studied in the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes (a group of diseases in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells). It is a type of thrombopoietin agonist. Also called Nplate and romiplostim.
  • AMG 706
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors and protein kinase inhibitors.
  • amifostine
  • A drug used as a chemoprotective drug to control some of the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
  • amikacin
  • An antibiotic drug used to treat infection. It belongs to the family of drugs called aminoglycoside antibiotics.
  • amino acid sequence
  • One of several molecules that join together to form proteins. There are 20 common amino acids found in proteins.
  • aminobenzoic acid
  • A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Bacteria that live in the intestines need aminobenzoic acid to survive. Aminobenzoic acid is found in grains and foods from animals. It is being studied as a radiosensitizer (a substance that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy) and in the treatment of certain skin disorders. Also called PABA and para-aminobenzoic acid.
  • aminocamptothecin
  • An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors.
  • aminoglutethimide
  • An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors. Aminoglutethimide is used to decrease the production of sex hormones (estrogen in women or testosterone in men) and suppress the growth of tumors that need sex hormones to grow.
  • aminoglycoside antibiotic
  • A substance that works against many types of bacteria and includes streptomycin, gentamicin, and neomycin. An aminoglycoside antibiotic is used to treat bacterial infections.
  • aminolevulinic acid
  • The active ingredient in a drug used to treat actinic keratosis (a skin condition that may become cancer). The drug is also being studied in the treatment of squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers and other types of cancer. When aminolevulinic acid is taken up by cells, including cancer cells, and then exposed to certain types of light, it becomes active and kills the cells. It is a type of photosensitizing agent.
  • aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride
  • A drug used to treat actinic keratosis (a skin condition that may become cancer). The drug is also being studied in the treatment of squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers and other types of cancer. When aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride is taken up by cells, including cancer cells, and then exposed to certain types of light, it becomes active and kills the cells. It is a type of photosensitizing agent. Also called Levulan and Levulan Kerastick.
  • aminopterin
  • An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites.
  • amiodarone hydrochloride
  • A drug used to treat certain types of abnormal heart rhythms that have not gotten better with other drugs. Amiodarone hydrochloride affects the electrical activity of the heart. It is a type of antiarrhythmic agent. Also called Corderone.
  • amitriptyline
  • A drug that is used to treat depression and may be given to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and pain. It is also being studied in an oral or gel form in the treatment of nerve pain caused by chemotherapy. Amitriptyline is a type of tricyclic antidepressant. Also called amitriptyline hydrochloride.
  • amitriptyline hydrochloride
  • A drug that is used to treat depression and may be given to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and pain. It is also being studied in an oral or gel form in the treatment of nerve pain caused by chemotherapy. Amitriptyline hydrochloride is a type of tricyclic antidepressant. Also called amitriptyline.
  • AML
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, and ANLL.
  • ammonium tetrathiomolybdate
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of many types of cancer. Ammonium tetrathiomolybdate removes extra copper from the body. Removing the copper may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow and may kill cancer cells. Ammonium tetrathiomolybdate is a type of chelating agent and a type of antiangiogenesis agent.
  • amonafide
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors and intercalating agents.
  • amoxicillin
  • A drug used to treat some bacterial infections. Amoxicillin is a form of penicillin that is made in the laboratory. It kills certain types of bacteria. It is a type of antibiotic.
  • amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium
  • A drug used to treat bacterial infections. Adding the chemical clavulanate potassium to the antibiotic amoxicillin increases the amount of time the antibiotic stays active in the body. Amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium is a type of combination antibiotic. Also called Augmentin.
  • amphotericin B
  • A drug used in the treatment of infections caused by fungi. It is a type of antifungal.
  • Amplimexon
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, breast, prostate, melanoma, and multiple myeloma. It belongs to the family of drugs called cyanoaziridine derivatives. Also called imexon.
  • ampulla
  • A sac-like enlargement of a canal or duct.
  • ampulla of Vater
  • An enlargement of the ducts from the liver and pancreas at the point where they enter the small intestine.
  • ampulla of Vater cancer
  • Cancer that forms in the ampulla of Vater (an enlargement of the ducts from the liver and pancreas where they join and enter the small intestine). Symptoms include jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Also called ampullary cancer.
  • ampullary cancer
  • Cancer that forms in the ampulla of Vater (an enlargement of the ducts from the liver and pancreas where they join and enter the small intestine). Symptoms include jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Also called ampulla of Vater cancer.
  • amputation
  • Surgery to remove part or all of a limb or appendage.
  • amrubicin
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of lung cancer. It is a type of anthracycline analog.
  • amsacrine
  • An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors.
  • amygdalin
  • A substance found in the pits of many fruits such as apricots and papayas, and in other foods. It has been tried in some countries as a treatment for cancer, but it has not been shown to work in clinical studies. Amygdalin is not approved for use in the United States. Also called laetrile.
  • amylase
  • An enzyme that helps the body digest starches.
  • amyloidosis
  • A group of diseases in which protein is deposited in specific organs (localized amyloidosis) or throughout the body (systemic amyloidosis). Amyloidosis may be either primary (with no known cause) or secondary (caused by another disease, including some types of cancer). Generally, primary amyloidosis affects the nerves, skin, tongue, joints, heart, and liver; secondary amyloidosis often affects the spleen, kidneys, liver, and adrenal glands.
  • anabolic steroid
  • A type of steroid that is used in medicine to repair body tissues and to increase appetite and the growth of muscles. Anabolic steroids are made in the laboratory from testosterone (a male hormone).
  • anagrelide
  • A drug that is used to decrease the number of platelets in the blood in order to prevent blood clotting.
  • anakinra
  • A substance that is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Anakinra blocks the action of interleukin 1 (IL-1). It is a type of interleukin receptor antagonist. Also called Kinaret.
  • anal cancer
  • Cancer that forms in tissues of the anus. The anus is the opening of the rectum (last part of the large intestine) to the outside of the body.
  • analgesia
  • Pain relief.
  • analgesic
  • A drug that reduces pain. Analgesics include aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.
  • analog
  • In chemistry, a substance that is similar, but not identical, to another.
  • analysis
  • Having to do with the anus. The anus is the opening of the rectum (last part of the large intestine) to the outside of the body.
  • anaphylactic shock
  • A severe and sometimes life-threatening immune system reaction to an antigen that a person has been previously exposed to. The reaction may include itchy skin, edema, collapsed blood vessels, fainting, difficulty in breathing, and death.
  • anaplastic large cell lymphoma
  • A term used to describe cancer cells that divide rapidly and have little or no resemblance to normal cells.
  • anaplastic thyroid cancer
  • A rare, aggressive type of thyroid cancer in which the malignant (cancer) cells look very different from normal thyroid cells.
  • anastomosis
  • A procedure to connect healthy sections of tubular structures in the body after the diseased portion has been surgically removed.
  • anastrozole
  • An anticancer drug that is used to decrease estrogen production and suppress the growth of tumors that need estrogen to grow. It is a type of nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor.
  • anatomic
  • Having to do with anatomy (the study of the structure of a plant or animal).
  • anatomist
  • A person who specializes in anatomy (the study of the structures of animals or plants).
  • anatomy
  • The study of the structure of a plant or animal.
  • ancestim
  • A substance that causes blood stem cells (cells from which other types of cells develop) to change into different types of blood cells and increases the number and actions of these cells in the blood. It is being studied in the treatment of myelodysplasia. Ancestim is a type of recombinant stem cell growth factor. Also called r-metHuSCF, recombinant human methionyl stem cell factor, and Stemgen.
  • ancillary test
  • In a clinical trial, a medical test on a patient that is not a part of the original study design.
  • androblastoma
  • A rare type of ovarian tumor in which the tumor cells secrete a male sex hormone. This may cause virilization (the appearance of male physical characteristics in females). Also called arrhenoblastoma and Sertoli-Leydig cell tumor of the ovary.
  • androgen ablation
  • A type of hormone that promotes the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics.
  • androgen deprivation
  • Treatment to suppress or block the production or action of male hormones. This is done by having the testicles removed, by taking female sex hormones, or by taking drugs called antiandrogens. Also called androgen ablation and androgen suppression.
  • androgen receptor positive
  • Describes cells that have a protein that binds to androgens (male hormones). Cancer cells that are androgen receptor positive may need androgens to grow. These cells may stop growing or die when they are treated with substances that block the binding and actions of androgen hormones. Also called AR+.
  • androgen suppression
  • Treatment to suppress or block the production or action of male hormones. This is done by having the testicles removed, by taking female sex hormones, or by taking drugs called antiandrogens. Also called androgen ablation and androgen deprivation.
  • androgen-independent
  • Describes the ability of tumor cells to grow in the absence of androgens (hormones that promote the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics). Many early prostate cancers require androgens for growth, but advanced prostate cancers are often androgen-independent.
  • androstanolone
  • A hormone made from testosterone in the prostate, testes, and certain other tissues. It is needed to develop and maintain male sex characteristics, such as facial hair, deep voice, and muscle growth. High amounts of androstanolone may increase the growth of prostate cancer and make it harder to treat. Also called DHT and dihydrotestosterone.
  • anecdotal report
  • An incomplete description of the medical and treatment history of one or more patients. Anecdotal reports may be published in places other than peer-reviewed, scientific journals.
  • anemia
  • A condition in which the number of red blood cells is below normal.
  • anesthesia
  • A loss of feeling or awareness caused by drugs or other substances. Anesthesia keeps patients from feeling pain during surgery or other procedures. Local anesthesia is a loss of feeling in one small area of the body. Regional anesthesia is a loss of feeling in a part of the body, such as an arm or leg. General anesthesia is a loss of feeling and a complete loss of awareness that feels like a very deep sleep.
  • anesthesiologist
  • A doctor who specializes in giving drugs or other agents to prevent or relieve pain during surgery or other procedures being done in the hospital.
  • anesthetic
  • A drug or other substance that causes a loss of feeling or awareness. Local anesthetics cause a loss of feeling in one small area of the body. Regional anesthetics cause a loss of feeling in a part of the body, such as an arm or leg. General anesthetics cause a loss of feeling and a complete loss of awareness that feels like a very deep sleep.
  • anetholtrithione
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.
  • aneuploidy
  • The occurrence of one or more extra or missing chromosomes leading to an unbalanced chromosome complement, or any chromosome number that is not an exact multiple of the haploid number (which is 46).
  • angelica root
  • The root of any of a group of herbs called Angelica. It has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems, including gastrointestinal problems such as loss of appetite, feelings of fullness, and gas.
  • Angiocept
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. Angiocept may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called CT-322 and VEGFR-2 inhibitor CT-322.
  • angiogenesis
  • Blood vessel formation. Tumor angiogenesis is the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. This is caused by the release of chemicals by the tumor.
  • angiogenesis inhibitor
  • A substance that may prevent the formation of blood vessels. In anticancer therapy, an angiogenesis inhibitor may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow.
  • angiogram
  • An x-ray of blood vessels. The person receives an injection of dye to outline the vessels on the x-ray.
  • angiography
  • A procedure to x-ray blood vessels. The blood vessels can be seen because of an injection of a dye that shows up in the x-ray.
  • angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) type of T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma marked by enlarged lymph nodes and hypergammaglobulinemia (increased antibodies in the blood). Other symptoms may include a skin rash, fever, weight loss, or night sweats.
  • angiomyolipoma
  • A benign (noncancer) tumor of fat and muscle tissue that usually is found in the kidney. Angiomyolipomas rarely cause symptoms, but may bleed or grow large enough to be painful or cause kidney failure. They are common in patients with tuberous sclerosis (a genetic disorder in which benign tumors grow in the kidneys, brain, eyes, heart, lungs, and skin, causing seizures, mental problems, and skin lesions).
  • angioplasty
  • A procedure to enlarge the opening in a blood vessel that has become narrowed or blocked by plaque (a buildup of fat and cholesterol on the inner wall of the blood vessel). Examples of angioplasty are balloon angioplasty and laser angioplasty.
  • angiosarcoma
  • A type of cancer that begins in the cells that line blood vessels or lymph vessels. Cancer that begins in blood vessels is called hemangiosarcoma. Cancer that begins in lymph vessels is called lymphangiosarcoma.
  • angiostatin
  • A protein normally made by the body. It can also be made in the laboratory, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Angiostatin may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent.
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor
  • A drug that is used to lower blood pressure. An angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor is a type of antihypertensive agent. Also called ACE inhibitor.
  • Angiozyme
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of kidney cancer. It may prevent the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to the tumor. It belongs to the families of drugs called VEGF receptor and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called RPI.4610.
  • anhydrovinblastine
  • An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors.
  • anidulafungin
  • A drug that is used to treat infections caused by fungi. It belongs to the family of drugs called antifungals.
  • animal model
  • An animal with a disease either the same as or like a disease in humans. Animal models are used to study the development and progression of diseases and to test new treatments before they are given to humans. Animals with transplanted human cancers or other tissues are called xenograft models.
  • animal study
  • A laboratory experiment using animals to study the development and progression of diseases. Animal studies also test how safe and effective new treatments are before they are tested in people.
  • animal-assisted therapy
  • A type of therapy that uses dogs or other pets to improve the physical and mental health of patients with certain acute or chronic diseases. It is being studied as a way to relieve distress in cancer patients undergoing treatment for pain. Also called pet-facilitated therapy.
  • ANLL
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, and AML.
  • annamycin
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called anthracycline antibiotics.
  • anorexia nervosa
  • An abnormal loss of the appetite for food. Anorexia can be caused by cancer, AIDS, a mental disorder (i.e., anorexia nervosa), or other diseases.
  • ansamycin
  • The part of the nervous system that controls muscles of internal organs (such as the heart, blood vessels, lungs, stomach, and intestines) and glands (such as salivary glands and sweat glands). One part of the ANS helps the body rest, relax, and digest food and another part helps a person fight or take flight in an emergency. Also called autonomic nervous system and involuntary nervous system.
  • antagonist
  • In medicine, a substance that stops the action or effect of another substance. For example, a drug that blocks the stimulating effect of estrogen on a tumor cell is called an estrogen receptor antagonist.
  • anterior mediastinotomy
  • A procedure in which a tube is inserted into the chest to view the tissues and organs in the area between the lungs and between the breastbone and heart. The tube is inserted through an incision next to the breastbone. This procedure is usually used to get a tissue sample from the lymph nodes on the left side of the chest. Also called Chamberlain procedure.
  • anterior mediastinum
  • In human anatomy, has to do with the front of a structure, or a structure found toward the front of the body.
  • anterior pelvic exenteration
  • Surgery to remove the urethra, lower part of the ureters, uterus, cervix, vagina, and bladder.
  • anterior urethral cancer
  • A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the part of the urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body) that is closest to the outside of the body.
  • anthracenedione
  • An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called anticancer antibiotics.
  • anthracycline
  • A type of antibiotic that comes from certain types of Streptomyces bacteria. Anthracyclines are used to treat many types of cancer. Anthracyclines damage the DNA in cancer cells, causing them to die. Daunorubicin, doxorubicin, and epirubicin are anthracyclines.
  • anthraquinone
  • A type of anticancer drug.
  • antiandrogen therapy
  • A substance that prevents cells from making or using androgens (hormones that play a role in the formation of male sex characteristics). Antiandrogens may stop some cancer cells from growing. Some antiandrogens are used to treat prostate cancer, and others are being studied for this use. An antiandrogen is a type of hormone antagonist.
  • antiangiogenesis
  • Prevention of the growth of new blood vessels.
  • antiangiogenic
  • Having to do with reducing the growth of new blood vessels.
  • antianxiety agent
  • A drug used to treat symptoms of anxiety, such as feelings of fear, dread, uneasiness, and muscle tightness, that may occur as a reaction to stress. Most antianxiety agents block the action of certain chemicals in the nervous system. Also called anxiolytic and anxiolytic agent.
  • antiapoptotic
  • Something that prevents apoptosis. Apoptosis is a type of cell death in which a series of molecular steps in a cell leads to its death.
  • antibacterial
  • A substance that kills bacteria or stops them from growing and causing disease.
  • antibiotic
  • A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria and other microorganisms.
  • antibody
  • A protein made by plasma cells (a type of white blood cell) in response to an antigen (a substance that causes the body to make a specific immune response). Each antibody can bind to only one specific antigen. The purpose of this binding is to help destroy the antigen. Some antibodies destroy antigens directly. Others make it easier for white blood cells to destroy the antigen.
  • antibody therapy
  • Treatment with an antibody, a substance that can directly kill specific tumor cells or stimulate the immune system to kill tumor cells.
  • antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity
  • A type of immune reaction in which a target cell or microbe is coated with antibodies and killed by certain types of white blood cells. The white blood cells bind to the antibodies and release substances that kill the target cells or microbes. Also called ADCC and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity.
  • antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity
  • A type of immune reaction in which a target cell or microbe is coated with antibodies and killed by certain types of white blood cells. The white blood cells bind to the antibodies and release substances that kill the target cells or microbes. Also called ADCC and antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity.
  • anticachexia
  • Describes a drug or effect that works against cachexia (loss of body weight and muscle mass).
  • anticancer antibiotic
  • A type of anticancer drug that blocks cell growth by interfering with DNA, the genetic material in cells. Also called antineoplastic antibiotic and antitumor antibiotic.
  • anticancer therapy
  • Treatment to stop or prevent cancer.
  • anticarcinogenic
  • Having to do with preventing or delaying the development of cancer.
  • anti-CD19 immunotoxin
  • A monoclonal antibody linked to a toxic substance. It is being studied in the treatment of some types of B-cell cancer. Anti-CD19 immunotoxin is made in the laboratory. It binds to CD19, a protein on the surface of normal B cells and B-cell tumors, and kills the cells.
  • anti-CD22 immunotoxin
  • A monoclonal antibody linked to a toxic substance. It is being studied in the treatment of some types of B-cell cancer. Anti-CD22 immunotoxin is made in the laboratory. It binds to CD22, a protein on the surface of normal B cells and B-cell tumors, and kills the cells.
  • anti-CD22 immunotoxin CAT-8015
  • A monoclonal antibody linked to a toxic substance. It is being studied in the treatment of some types of B-cell cancer. Anti-CD22 immunotoxin CAT-8015 is made in the laboratory. It binds to CD22, a protein on the surface of normal B cells and B-cell tumors, and kills the cells. Also called CAT-8015.
  • anti-CD45 monoclonal antibody
  • A monoclonal antibody being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Anti-CD45 monoclonal antibody binds to members of a family of proteins called CD45. Certain CD45 proteins are found on the surface of most types of blood cells, and some types of leukemia and lymphoma cells.
  • anti-CEA antibody
  • An antibody against carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), a protein present on certain types of cancer cells.
  • anticoagulant
  • A drug that helps prevent blood clots from forming. Also called blood thinner.
  • anticonvulsant
  • A drug or other substance used to prevent or stop seizures or convulsions. Also called antiepileptic.
  • antidepressant
  • A drug used to treat depression.
  • antidiarrheal
  • A substance used to treat diarrhea (frequent and watery bowel movements).
  • antiemetic
  • A drug that prevents or reduces nausea and vomiting.
  • anti-EpCAM-Pseudomonas-exotoxin fusion protein
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of certain types of head and neck cancer. Anti-EpCAM-Pseudomonas-exotoxin fusion protein is made by linking a monoclonal antibody fragment to a toxic protein that may kill cancer cells. It binds to EpCAM (a protein on the surface of epithelial cells and some types of cancer cells). Also called Proxinium and VB4-845.
  • antiepileptic
  • A drug or other substance used to prevent or stop seizures or convulsions. Also called anticonvulsant.
  • antiestrogen
  • A substance that keeps cells from making or using estrogen (a hormone that plays a role in female sex characteristics, the menstrual cycle, and pregnancy). Antiestrogens may stop some cancer cells from growing and are used to prevent and treat breast cancer. They are also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. An antiestrogen is a type of hormone antagonist. Also called estrogen blocker.
  • antifolate
  • A substance that blocks the activity of folic acid. Antifolates are used to treat cancer. Also called folate antagonist.
  • antifungal
  • A drug that treats infections caused by fungi.
  • antigen-presenting cell
  • Any substance that causes the body to make a specific immune response.
  • antigen-presenting cell vaccine
  • A vaccine made of antigens and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Also called APC vaccine.
  • antiglobulin test
  • A laboratory test to identify antibodies that can bind to the surface of red blood cells or platelets and destroy them. This test is used to diagnose certain blood disorders in which patients make antibodies to their own red blood cells or platelets. It is also used to determine blood type. Also called Coomb's test.
  • antihistamine
  • A type of drug that blocks the action of histamines, which can cause fever, itching, sneezing, a runny nose, and watery eyes. Antihistamines are used to prevent fevers in patients receiving blood transfusions and to treat allergies, coughs, and colds.
  • antihormone therapy
  • Treatment with drugs, surgery, or radiation in order to block the production or action of a hormone. Antihormone therapy may be used in cancer treatment because certain hormones are able to stimulate the growth of some types of tumors.
  • anti-idiotype vaccine
  • A vaccine made of antibodies that see other antibodies as the antigen and bind to it. Anti-idiotype vaccines can stimulate the body to produce antibodies against tumor cells.
  • anti-IGF1R recombinant monoclonal antibody MK-0646
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of many types of cancer. Anti-IGF1R recombinant monoclonal antibody MK-0646 binds to a protein called insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGFR) on the surface of cells. This may prevent the cells from growing when IGF is present. It may also kill cancer cells. Anti-IGF1R recombinant monoclonal antibody MK-0646 is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called MK-0646.
  • anti-IL-6 chimeric monoclonal antibody
  • A chimeric (made from human and mouse proteins) monoclonal antibody being studied in the treatment of advanced kidney cancer and other types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Anti-IL-6 chimeric monoclonal antibody works by blocking inflammation and tumor growth. Also called cCLB8 and CNTO 328.
  • anti-inflammatory
  • Having to do with reducing inflammation.
  • anti-mesothelin monoclonal antibody MORAb-009
  • A monoclonal antibody being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Anti-mesothelin monoclonal antibody MORAb-009 binds to mesothelin (a protein that is made by some cancer cells) and stops the cells from dividing. Also called MORAb-009.
  • antimetabolite
  • A drug that is very similar to natural chemicals in a normal biochemical reaction in cells but different enough to interfere with the normal division and functions of cells.
  • antimicrobial
  • A substance that kills microorganisms such as bacteria or mold, or stops them from growing and causing disease.
  • antimicrotubule agent
  • A type of drug that blocks cell growth by stopping mitosis (cell division). Antimicrotubule agents interfere with microtubules (cellular structures that help move chromosomes during mitosis). They are used to treat cancer.
  • antimitotic agent
  • A type of drug that blocks cell growth by stopping mitosis (cell division). They are used to treat cancer. Also called mitotic inhibitor.
  • antineoplastic
  • Blocking the formation of neoplasms (growths that may become cancer).
  • antineoplastic antibiotic
  • A type of anticancer drug that blocks cell growth by interfering with DNA, the genetic material in cells. Also called anticancer antibiotic and antitumor antibiotic.
  • antineoplaston
  • A substance isolated from normal human blood and urine that is being tested as a type of treatment for some tumors and AIDS.
  • antioncogene
  • A type of gene that makes a protein called a tumor suppressor protein that helps control cell growth. Mutations (changes in DNA) in antioncogenes may lead to cancer. Also called tumor suppressor gene.
  • antioxidant
  • A substance that protects cells from the damage caused by free radicals (unstable molecules made by the process of oxidation during normal metabolism). Free radicals may play a part in cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other diseases of aging. Antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamins A, C, and E, and other natural and manufactured substances.
  • antiparasitic
  • A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria and parasites. It is also used in the treatment of some cancers.
  • anti-PDGFR alpha monoclonal antibody IMC-3G3
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of glioblastoma (a type of brain tumor) that has come back. It binds to receptors for a protein called platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). This keeps PDGF from binding to the cells. This may stop the growth of cancer cells and blood vessels that have the receptors for PDGF. It is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called anti-platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha monoclonal antibody IMC-3G3 and IMC-3G3.
  • anti-platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha monoclonal antibody IMC-3G3
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of glioblastoma (a type of brain tumor) that has come back. It binds to receptors for a protein called platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). This keeps PDGF from binding to the cells. This may stop the growth of cancer cells and blood vessels that have the receptors for PDGF. It is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called anti-PDGFR alpha monoclonal antibody IMC-3G3 and IMC-3G3.
  • antiprogestin
  • A substance that prevents cells from making or using progesterone (a hormone that plays a role in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy). Antiprogestins may stop some cancer cells from growing and they are being studied in the treatment of breast cancer. An antiprogestin is a type of hormone antagonist.
  • antipsychotic agent
  • A type of drug used to treat symptoms of psychosis. These include hallucinations (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or touches that a person believes to be real but are not real), delusions (false beliefs), and dementia (loss of the ability to think, remember, learn, make decisions, and solve problems). Most antipsychotics block the action of certain chemicals in the nervous system. Also called antipsychotic agent and neuroleptic agent.
  • antiretroviral therapy
  • Treatment with drugs that inhibit the ability of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or other types of retroviruses to multiply in the body.
  • antisense agent
  • Small pieces of DNA or RNA that can bind to specific molecules of RNA. This blocks the ability of the RNA to make a protein or work in other ways. Antisense agents may be used to block the production of proteins needed for cell growth. They are being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. Also called antisense oligonucleotide.
  • antisense c-fos
  • A substance that has been studied in the treatment of cancer and is being studied in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and certain skin conditions. It blocks the production of a protein called c-fos, which helps control cell growth. This may kill cancer cells that need c-fos to grow. It is a type of antisense oligonucleotide. Also called c-fos antisense oligonucleotide.
  • antisense DNA
  • Small pieces of DNA that can bind to specific molecules of RNA and block the cell’s ability to use the RNA to make a protein or work in other ways. Antisense DNA may be used to block the production of proteins needed for cell growth. It is being studied in the treatment of many types of cancer.
  • antisense oligonucleotide
  • Small pieces of DNA or RNA that can bind to specific molecules of RNA. This blocks the ability of the RNA to make a protein or work in other ways. Antisense oligonucleotides may be used to block the production of proteins needed for cell growth. They are being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. Also called antisense agent.
  • antisense RNA
  • Small pieces of RNA that can bind to specific molecules of RNA and block the cell’s ability to use the RNA to make a protein or work in other ways. Antisense RNA may be used to block the production of proteins needed for cell growth. It is being studied in the treatment of many types of cancer.
  • antisocial
  • Describes behavior that ignores the rights of others and the practices and laws of society.
  • anti-TGF-beta monoclonal antibody GC1008
  • A monoclonal antibody being studied in the treatment of kidney cancer, melanoma, and pulmonary fibrosis. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Anti-TGF-beta monoclonal antibody GC1008 binds to the protein transforming growth factor-beta (TGFβ) and may block the growth of cancer cells that make it. Also called GC1008.
  • antithymocyte globulin
  • A protein used to reduce the risk of or to treat graft-versus-host disease.
  • anti-TRAIL R1-mAb
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It binds to a protein called TRAIL R1 on the surface of some tumor cells. This may kill the tumor cells. Anti-TRAIL R1-mAb is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called HGS-ETR1 and mapatumumab.
  • anti-TRAIL R2 mAb HGS-ETR2
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It binds to a protein called TRAIL-R2 on the surface of some tumor cells, which may kill the tumor cells. Anti-TRAIL R2 mAb HGS-ETR2 is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called HGS-ETR2 and lexatumumab.
  • antituberculosis
  • Describes a drug or effect that works against tuberculosis (a contagious bacterial infection that usually affects the lungs).
  • antitumor antibiotic
  • Having to do with stopping abnormal cell growth.
  • anti-VEGFR monoclonal antibody
  • A monoclonal antibody being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Anti-VEGFR monoclonal antibodies bind to receptors for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and keeps VEGF from binding to them. This may stop the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent.
  • anti-VEGFR-2 fully human monoclonal antibody IMC-1121B
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of breast cancer that has come back. It binds to receptors for a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This keeps VEGF from binding to the receptors and may stop the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent and a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called IMC-1121B and ramucirumab.
  • antiviral
  • A drug used to treat infections caused by viruses.
  • anus
  • The opening of the rectum to the outside of the body.
  • anxiety
  • Feelings of fear, dread, and uneasiness that may occur as a reaction to stress. A person with anxiety may sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heart beat. Extreme anxiety that happens often over time may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
  • anxiolytic
  • A drug used to treat symptoms of anxiety, such as feelings of fear, dread, uneasiness, and muscle tightness, that may occur as a reaction to stress. Most anxiolytics block the action of certain chemicals in the nervous system. Also called antianxiety agent and anxiolytic agent.
  • anxiolytic agent
  • A drug used to treat symptoms of anxiety, such as feelings of fear, dread, uneasiness, and muscle tightness, that may occur as a reaction to stress. Most anxiolytic agents block the action of certain chemicals in the nervous system. Also called antianxiety agent and anxiolytic.
  • Anzemet
  • A drug used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer treatment. It is a type of serotonin receptor antagonist and a type of antiemetic. Also called dolasetron mesylate.
  • aorta
  • The largest artery in the body. It carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to vessels that reach the rest of the body.
  • aortocoronary bypass
  • Surgery in which a healthy blood vessel taken from another part of the body is used to make a new path for blood around a blocked artery leading to the heart. This restores the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the heart. Also called CAB and coronary artery bypass.
  • AP23573
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of soft tissue and bone cancers. It is also being studied in the treatment of other solid tumors and hematologic cancer. AP23573 stops cells from dividing and may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of mTOR inhibitor. Also called deforolimus.
  • AP5346
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of head and neck cancer. It may kill cancer cells by carrying an anticancer drug into the tumor. It is a type of platinum compound.
  • APC
  • A type of immune cell that boosts immune responses by showing antigens on its surface to other cells of the immune system. An APC is a type of phagocyte. Also called antigen-presenting cell.
  • APC vaccine
  • A vaccine made of antigens and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Also called antigen-presenting cell vaccine.
  • APC8015
  • A vaccine made from immune system cells collected from a patient with prostate cancer. The cells are treated in the laboratory with a growth factor attached to a protein found on prostate cancer cells. APC8015 injected into patients may stimulate T lymphocytes to kill tumor cells that express the prostate protein. Also called Provenge and Sipuleucel-T.
  • APC8015F
  • A vaccine made from immune system cells taken from a patient with prostate cancer and frozen for future use. The cells are treated in the laboratory with a growth factor attached to a protein called prostatic-acid phosphatase (PAP), which is found on prostate cancer cells. When APC8015F is injected into the patient, it may cause T cells (a type of white blood cell) to kill tumor cells that have PAP on them.
  • apheresis
  • A procedure in which blood is collected, part of the blood such as platelets or white blood cells is taken out, and the rest of the blood is returned to the donor. Also called pheresis.
  • aplastic anemia
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) type of acute myeloid leukemia in which there are too many immature blood-forming cells in the blood and bone marrow. It is usually marked by an exchange of parts of chromosomes 15 and 17. Also called acute promyelocytic leukemia and promyelocytic leukemia.
  • aplidine
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is obtained from a marine organism.
  • APN
  • A registered nurse who has additional education and training in how to diagnose and treat disease. APNs are licensed at the state level and certified by national nursing organizations. In cancer care, an APN may manage the primary care of patients and their families, based on a practice agreement with a doctor. Also called advanced practice nurse, NP, and nurse practitioner.
  • Apo-2L
  • A cell protein that can attach to certain molecules in some cancer cells and may kill the cells. Apo-2L is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand, TRAIL, and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand.
  • apocrine gland
  • A type of gland that is found in the skin, breast, eyelid, and ear. Apocrine glands in the breast secrete fat droplets into breast milk and those in the ear help form earwax. Apocrine glands in the skin and eyelid are sweat glands. Most apocrine glands in the skin are in the armpits, the groin, and the area around the nipples of the breast. Apocrine glands in the skin are scent glands, and their secretions usually have an odor. Another type of gland (eccrine gland or simple sweat gland) produces most sweat.
  • apolizumab
  • A type of monoclonal antibody that is being studied as a treatment for hematologic (blood) cancers. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells.
  • apoptosis
  • A type of cell death in which a series of molecular steps in a cell leads to its death. This is the body’s normal way of getting rid of unneeded or abnormal cells. The process of apoptosis may be blocked in cancer cells. Also called programmed cell death.
  • appendectomy
  • Surgery to remove the appendix (small finger-shaped pouch at the end of the first part of the large intestine).
  • appendix
  • A small, fingerlike pouch that sticks out from the cecum (the first part of the large intestine near the end of the small intestine).
  • appetite
  • A desire to satisfy a physical or mental need, such as for food, sex, or adventure.
  • aprepitant
  • A drug used together with other drugs to prevent and control the nausea and vomiting caused by cancer treatment. It is also used to treat nausea and vomiting after surgery. It is a type of antiemetic and a type of substance P/neurokinin 1 receptor antagonist. Also called Emend.
  • aqueous
  • Having to do with water.
  • AR+
  • Describes cells that have a protein that binds to androgens (male hormones). Cancer cells that are AR+ may need androgens to grow. These cells may stop growing or die when they are treated with substances that block the binding and actions of androgen hormones. Also called androgen receptor positive.
  • arctigenin
  • A substance found in certain plants, including burdock. It has shown antiviral and anticancer effects. Arctigenin belongs to a group of substances called lignans.
  • arctiin
  • A substance found in certain plants, including burdock. It has shown anticancer effects. Arctiin belongs to a group of substances called lignans.
  • areola
  • The area of dark-colored skin on the breast that surrounds the nipple.
  • arginine butyrate
  • One of the twenty common amino acids (building blocks of proteins). Arginine is being studied as a nutritional supplement in the treatment and prevention of cancer and other conditions. Also called L-arginine.
  • argon beam coagulator ablation
  • A procedure that destroys tissue with an electrical current passed through a stream of argon gas to the tissue. It is used to treat endometriosis and other conditions, and to stop blood loss during surgery.
  • Arixtra
  • A drug used to prevent blood clots from forming inside blood vessels in the leg. It is being studied in the prevention of blood clots in some cancer patients, including women having surgery for cancer of the reproductive tract. It is a type of anticoagulant. Also called fondaparinux and fondaparinux sodium.
  • ARMD
  • A condition in which there is a slow breakdown of cells in the center of the retina (the light-sensitive layers of nerve tissue at the back of the eye). This blocks vision in the center of the eye and can cause problems with activities such as reading and driving. ARMD is most often seen in people who are over the age of 50. Also called age-related macular degeneration, AMD, and macular degeneration.
  • ARMS
  • A soft tissue tumor that is most common in older children and teenagers. It begins in embryonic muscle cells (cells that develop into muscles in the body). It can occur at many places in the body, but usually occurs in the trunk, arms, or legs. Also called alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
  • Aromasin
  • A drug used to treat advanced breast cancer and to prevent recurrent breast cancer in postmenopausal women who have already been treated with tamoxifen. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Aromasin causes a decrease in the amount of estrogen made by the body. It is a type of aromatase inhibitor. Also called exemestane.
  • aromatase inhibitor
  • A drug that prevents the formation of estradiol, a female hormone, by interfering with an aromatase enzyme. Aromatase inhibitors are used as a type of hormone therapy for postmenopausal women who have hormone-dependent breast cancer.
  • aromatherapist
  • A person who practices a type of complementary medicine called aromatherapy. This therapy uses plant oils that give off strong, pleasant smells to promote relaxation and a sense of well-being. The plant oils are usually inhaled or put on the skin using wet cloths, baths, or massage.
  • aromatherapy
  • A type of complementary and alternative medicine that uses plant oils that give off strong pleasant aromas (smells) to promote relaxation, a sense of well-being, and healing.
  • aromatherapy infusion
  • The process of heating (without boiling) a mixture of water and an essential oil (scented liquid taken from a plant) to release a pleasant aroma. Aromatherapy infusion may also refer to the process of heating an herb in liquid to release the essential oils. Inhaled oxygen scented by aromatherapy infusion is being studied as a complementary therapy (used in addition to standard treatments) to relieve pain and shorten recovery time in patients undergoing colonoscopy.
  • aromatherapy massage
  • A type of complementary and alternative medicine that uses rubbing and kneading of the skin with plant oils that give off strong, pleasant aromas (smells) to promote relaxation, a sense of well-being, and healing.
  • aromatic
  • Having an odor, which often is pleasant or spicy.
  • arousal
  • The state of being alert and ready to respond, or waking from sleep.
  • Arranon
  • A drug used to treat certain types of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma (T-LBL). It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. Also called 506U78 and nelarabine.
  • arrhenoblastoma
  • A rare type of ovarian tumor in which the tumor cells secrete a male sex hormone. This may cause virilization (the appearance of male physical characteristics in females). Also called androblastoma and Sertoli-Leydig cell tumor of the ovary.
  • arsenic
  • A poisonous chemical used to kill weeds and pests. Also used in cancer therapy.
  • arsenic trioxide
  • A drug used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) that has not gotten better or that has come back after treatment with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Also called Trisenox.
  • arterial embolization
  • The blocking of an artery by a clot of foreign material. This can be done as treatment to block the flow of blood to a tumor.
  • arteriogram
  • An x-ray of arteries. The person receives an injection of a dye that outlines the vessels on the x-ray.
  • arteriography
  • A procedure to x-ray arteries. The arteries can be seen because of an injection of a dye that outlines the vessels on the x-ray.
  • artery
  • A blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to tissues and organs in the body.
  • arthralgia
  • Joint pain.
  • arthritis
  • A disease that causes inflammation and pain in the joints.
  • artificial pacemaker
  • An electronic device that is implanted in the body to monitor heart rate and rhythm. It gives the heart electrical stimulation when it does not beat normally. It runs on batteries and has long, thin wires that connect it to the heart. Also called cardiac pacemaker and pacemaker.
  • Arzerra
  • A drug used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) that has not gotten better with other chemotherapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, including follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Arzerra binds to CD20, a protein on the surface of normal B cells and most B-cell tumors. This may kill the cancer cells. It is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called HuMax-CD20 and ofatumumab.
  • arzoxifene hydrochloride
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of osteoporosis and breast cancer. Arzoxifene hydrochloride is made in the laboratory and binds to estrogen receptors in the body. It is a type of selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). Also called LY353381 hydrochloride.
  • asbestos
  • A group of minerals that take the form of tiny fibers. Asbestos has been used as insulation against heat and fire in buildings. Loose asbestos fibers breathed into the lungs can cause several serious diseases, including lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma (cancer found in the lining of the lungs, chest, or abdomen). Asbestos that is swallowed may cause cancer of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • asbestosis
  • A lung disease caused by breathing in particles of asbestos (a group of minerals that take the form of tiny fibers). Symptoms include coughing, trouble breathing, and chest pain caused by scarring and permanent damage to lung tissue. Asbestosis increases the risk of lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma (cancer found in the lining of the lungs, chest, or abdomen).
  • ascites
  • Abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen that may cause swelling. In late-stage cancer, tumor cells may be found in the fluid in the abdomen. Ascites also occurs in patients with liver disease.
  • ascorbic acid
  • A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Ascorbic acid helps fight infections, heal wounds, and keep tissues healthy. It is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage caused by free radicals (highly reactive chemicals). Ascorbic acid is found in all fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupe, green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, leafy greens, and potatoes. It is water-soluble (can dissolve in water) and must be taken in every day. Ascorbic acid is being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer. Also called vitamin C.
  • ASCUS
  • Abnormal cells from the outer walls of the cervix (the lower, narrow end of the uterus). Abnormal squamous cells (thin, flat cells that look like fish scales) are found in a low number of Pap smears (a procedure used to detect cervical cancer) and may indicate infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) or another infectious agent. The risk of developing cervical cancer is very low for patients with ASCUS without HPV infection. Also called ASC-US and atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance.
  • ASC-US
  • Abnormal cells from the outer walls of the cervix (the lower, narrow end of the uterus). Abnormal squamous cells (thin, flat cells that look like fish scales) are found in a low number of Pap smears (a procedure used to detect cervical cancer) and may indicate infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) or another infectious agent. The risk of developing cervical cancer is very low for patients with ASC-US without HPV infection. Also called ASCUS and atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance.
  • Ashkenazi Jews
  • One of two major ancestral groups of Jewish individuals, comprised of those whose ancestors lived in Eastern Europe (Germany, Poland, Russia). The other group is designated Sephardic Jews and includes those whose ancestors lived in North Africa, the Middle East, and Spain. Most Jews living in the United States are Ashkenazi Jews. Also called Eastern European Jews.
  • asparaginase
  • A drug that is used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and is being studied in the treatment of some other types of cancer. It is an enzyme taken from the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli). It breaks down the amino acid asparagine and may block the growth of tumor cells that need asparagine to grow. Also called Elspar and L-asparaginase.
  • aspartate transaminase
  • An enzyme found in the liver, heart, and other tissues. A high level of aspartate transaminase released into the blood may be a sign of liver or heart damage, cancer, or other diseases. Also called serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase and SGOT.
  • aspergillosis
  • An infectious fungal disease that occurs most often in the skin, ears, nasal sinuses, and lungs of people with suppressed immune systems.
  • Aspergillus
  • Fungi commonly found in soil. Certain types of Aspergillus may cause disease, especially in people who have suppressed immune systems.
  • aspirate
  • Fluid withdrawn from a lump (often a cyst) or a nipple.
  • aspiration
  • Removal of fluid or tissue through a needle. Also, the accidental breathing in of food or fluid into the lungs.
  • aspirin
  • A drug that reduces pain, fever, inflammation, and blood clotting. Aspirin belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents. It is also being studied in cancer prevention.
  • ASPS
  • A soft tissue tumor that is most common in older children and teenagers. It begins in the soft supporting tissue that connects and surrounds the organs and other tissues. ASPS usually occurs in the legs, but can also occur in the arms, hands, head, or neck. It can cause the growth of new blood vessels that help the tumor grow and spread. Also called alveolar soft part sarcoma.
  • assay
  • A laboratory test to find and measure the amount of a specific substance.
  • assessment
  • In healthcare, a process used to learn about a patient’s condition. This may include a complete medical history, medical tests, a physical exam, a test of learning skills, tests to find out if the patient is able to carry out the tasks of daily living, a mental health evaluation, and a review of social support and community resources available to the patient.
  • assisted reproductive technology
  • A term used to describe collectively a number of noncoital methods of conception that are used to treat infertility with donor or nondonor eggs and sperm including in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT). Also called ART.
  • assistive device
  • A tool that helps a person with a disability to do a certain task. Examples are a cane, wheelchair, scooter, walker, hearing aid, or special bed.
  • assistive technology
  • Any device or technology that helps a disabled person. Examples are special grips for holding utensils, computer screen monitors to help a person with low vision read more easily, computers controlled by talking, telephones that make the sound louder, and lifters to help a person rise out of a chair.
  • asthenia
  • Weakness; lack of energy and strength.
  • asthma
  • A chronic disease in which the bronchial airways in the lungs become narrowed and swollen, making it difficult to breathe. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, and rapid breathing. An attack may be brought on by pet hair, dust, smoke, pollen, mold, exercise, cold air, or stress.
  • astrocyte
  • A large, star-shaped cell that holds nerve cells in place and helps them develop and work the way they should. An astrocyte is a type of glial cell.
  • astrocytoma
  • A tumor that begins in the brain or spinal cord in small, star-shaped cells called astrocytes.
  • asymmetry
  • Lack or absence of balanced proportions between parts of a thing.
  • asymptomatic
  • Having no signs or symptoms of disease.
  • asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis
  • Inflammation of the prostate gland where the only symptom is the presence of white blood cells in the prostate fluid.
  • AT/RT
  • An aggressive cancer of the central nervous system, kidney, or liver that occurs in very young children. Also called ATT/RHT and atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor.
  • AT7519M
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. AT7519M blocks enzymes needed for cells to divide. It is a type of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor. Also called CDK inhibitor AT7519M.
  • AT9283
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It blocks enzymes (Aurora kinases) involved in cell division and may kill cancer cells. AT9283 is a type of serine/threonine protein kinase inhibitor. Also called Aurora kinase inhibitor AT9283.
  • atamestane
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Atamestane blocks the production of the hormone estrogen in the body. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiestrogens.
  • ataxia-telangiectasia
  • Loss of muscle coordination.
  • ataxic gait
  • Awkward, uncoordinated walking.
  • atelectasis
  • Failure of the lung to expand (inflate) completely. This may be caused by a blocked airway, a tumor, general anesthesia, pneumonia or other lung infections, lung disease, or long-term bedrest with shallow breathing. Sometimes called a collapsed lung.
  • athymic nude mouse
  • A type of laboratory mouse that is hairless, lacks a normal thymus gland, and has a defective immune system because of a genetic mutation. Athymic nude mice are often used in cancer research because they do not reject tumor cells, from mice or other species.
  • atiprimod
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of certain multiple myelomas and other advanced cancers. Atiprimod may block the growth of tumors and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. Atiprimod is a type of signal transduction inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called azaspirane and SK&F106615.
  • ATLL
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) type of T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma caused by the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). It is marked by bone and skin lesions, high calcium levels, and enlarged lymph nodes, spleen, and liver. Also called adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma.
  • ATN-161
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. ATN-161 may prevent the spread of tumor cells and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent.
  • ATN-224
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. ATN-224 also blocks enzymes that cells need to divide and grow, and it may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent and a type of superoxide dismutase inhibitor. Also called SOD1 inhibitor ATN-224.
  • atorvastatin
  • The active ingredient in a drug used to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood and to prevent stroke, heart attack, and angina (chest pain). It is also being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer and other conditions. Atorvastatin blocks an enzyme that helps make cholesterol in the body. It also causes an increase in the breakdown of cholesterol. It is a type of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor and a type of statin.
  • atorvastatin calcium
  • A drug used to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood and to prevent stroke, heart attack, and angina (chest pain). It is also being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer and other conditions. Atorvastatin calcium blocks an enzyme that helps make cholesterol in the body. It also causes an increase in the breakdown of cholesterol. It is a type of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor and a type of statin. Also called Lipitor.
  • ATP
  • A substance present in all living cells that provides energy for many metabolic processes and is involved in making RNA. ATP made in the laboratory is being studied in patients with advanced solid tumors to see if it can decrease weight loss and improve muscle strength. Also called adenosine triphosphate.
  • atrasentan
  • A nutrient that that body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. ATRA is made in the body from vitamin A and helps cells to grow and develop, especially in the embryo. A form of ATRA made in the laboratory is put on the skin to treat conditions such as acne and is taken by mouth to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (a fast-growing cancer in which there are too many immature blood-forming cells in the blood and bone marrow). ATRA is being studied in the prevention and treatment of other types of cancer. Also called all-trans retinoic acid, retinoic acid, tretinoin, and vitamin A acid.
  • ATT/RHT
  • An aggressive cancer of the central nervous system, kidney, or liver that occurs in very young children. Also called AT/RT and atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor.
  • attenuated
  • Weakened or thinned. Attenuated strains of disease-causing bacteria and viruses are often used as vaccines. The weakened strains are used as vaccines because they stimulate a protective immune response while causing no disease or only mild disease in the person receiving the vaccine.
  • attributable risk
  • Proportion of a disease in exposed individuals that can be attributed to an exposure. In the context of genetic studies, the "exposure" is the frequency of a specific genetic variant.
  • atypia
  • State of being not typical or normal. In medicine, atypia is an abnormality in cells in tissue.
  • atypical ductal breast hyperplasia
  • A benign (not cancer) condition in which there are more cells than normal in the lining of breast ducts and the cells look abnormal under a microscope. Having atypical ductal breast hyperplasia increases the risk of breast cancer. Also called ADH and atypical ductal hyperplasia.
  • atypical ductal hyperplasia
  • A benign (not cancer) condition in which there are more cells than normal in the lining of breast ducts and the cells look abnormal under a microscope. Having atypical ductal hyperplasia increases the risk of breast cancer. Also called ADH and atypical ductal breast hyperplasia.
  • atypical glandular cells of uncertain significance
  • A term that has been used to describe abnormal cells that come from glands in the walls of the cervix (the lower, narrow end of the uterus). These abnormal cells are found in a small number of Pap smears (a procedure used to detect cervical cancer) and may be a sign of more serious lesions or cancer. The term used now is atypical glandular cells. Also called AGUS and atypical glandular cells of undetermined significance.
  • atypical glandular cells of undetermined significance
  • A term that has been used to describe abnormal cells that come from glands in the walls of the cervix (the lower, narrow end of the uterus). These abnormal cells are found in a small number of Pap smears (a procedure used to detect cervical cancer) and may be a sign of more serious lesions or cancer. The term used now is atypical glandular cells. Also called AGUS and atypical glandular cells of uncertain significance.
  • atypical hyperplasia
  • A benign (not cancer) condition in which cells look abnormal under a microscope and are increased in number.
  • atypical lobular breast hyperplasia
  • A benign (not cancer) condition in which there are more cells than normal in the breast lobules and the cells look abnormal under a microscope. Having atypical lobular breast hyperplasia increases the risk of breast cancer. Also called ALH and atypical lobular hyperplasia.
  • atypical lobular hyperplasia
  • A benign (not cancer) condition in which there are more cells than normal in the breast lobules and the cells look abnormal under a microscope. Having atypical lobular hyperplasia increases the risk of breast cancer. Also called ALH and atypical lobular breast hyperplasia.
  • atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance
  • Abnormal cells from the outer walls of the cervix (the lower, narrow end of the uterus). Abnormal squamous cells (thin, flat cells that look like fish scales) are found in a low number of Pap smears (a procedure used to detect cervical cancer) and may indicate infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) or another infectious agent. The risk of developing cervical cancer is very low for patients with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance without HPV infection. Also called ASC-US and ASCUS.
  • atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor
  • An aggressive cancer of the central nervous system, kidney, or liver that occurs in very young children. Also called AT/RT and ATT/RHT.
  • Augmentin
  • A drug used to treat bacterial infections. Adding the chemical clavulanate potassium to the antibiotic amoxicillin increases the amount of time the antibiotic stays active in the body. Augmentin is a type of combination antibiotic. Also called amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium.
  • augmerosen
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It may kill cancer cells by blocking the production of a protein that makes cancer cells live longer and by making them more sensitive to anticancer drugs. It is a type of antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotide. Also called bcl-2 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide G3139, Genasense, and oblimersen sodium.
  • auricular
  • Having to do with the ear.
  • Aurimmune
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Aurimmune is made in the laboratory by binding a cancer-killing protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) to the surface of very tiny particles of gold. These TNF-gold particles may kill cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. Also called colloidal gold-bound tumor necrosis factor and TNF-bound colloidal gold.
  • Aurora kinase inhibitor AT9283
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It blocks enzymes (Aurora kinases) involved in cell division and may kill cancer cells. Aurora kinase inhibitor AT9283 is a type of serine/threonine protein kinase inhibitor. Also called AT9283.
  • aurotherapy
  • A procedure that uses gold salts (a salt form of the metal element gold) to treat diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. The gold salts stop cells from releasing chemicals that can harm tissues. Also called chrysotherapy and gold therapy.
  • autoantibody
  • An antibody made against substances formed by a person’s own body. Autoantibodies can directly destroy cells that have the substances on them or can make it easier for other white blood cells to destroy them. Some autoimmune diseases are caused by autoantibodies.
  • autoclave-resistant factor
  • A device that uses steam under high pressure to sterilize medical and laboratory supplies and equipment.
  • autoimmune disease
  • A condition in which the body recognizes its own tissues as foreign and directs an immune response against them.
  • autoimmune enteropathy
  • A rare disease in which certain cells in the intestine are destroyed by a patient’s immune system. It causes severe, chronic, diarrhea and usually occurs in children.
  • autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • A condition in which the body’s immune system stops red blood cells from forming or causes them to clump together. Autoimmune hemolytic anemia can occur in patients who have chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Also called immune complex hemolytic anemia and immunohemolytic anemia.
  • autologous bone marrow
  • Taken from an individual's own tissues, cells, or DNA.
  • autologous bone marrow transplantation
  • A procedure in which bone marrow is removed from a person, stored, and then given back to the person after intensive treatment.
  • autologous expanded mesenchymal stem cells OTI-010
  • A product that is made of special stem cells taken from a patient’s bone marrow and grown in the laboratory. After a patient’s bone marrow is destroyed by treatment with whole body irradiation or chemotherapy, these cells are injected back into the patient to help rebuild bone marrow. Autologous expanded mesenchymal stem cells OTI-010 has been studied in the prevention of graft-versus-host disease during stem cell transplant in patients receiving treatment for cancer. Autologous expanded mesenchymal stem cells OTI-010 is used in cellular therapy. Also called Stromagen.
  • autologous lymphocyte
  • In transplantation, refers to a person’s own white blood cells. Lymphocytes have a number of roles in the immune system, including the production of antibodies and other substances that fight infections and other diseases.
  • autologous stem cell transplantation
  • A procedure in which blood-forming stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) are removed, stored, and later given back to the same person.
  • autologous tumor cell
  • A cancer cell from an individual's own tumor.
  • autonomic nervous system
  • The part of the nervous system that controls muscles of internal organs (such as the heart, blood vessels, lungs, stomach, and intestines) and glands (such as salivary glands and sweat glands). One part of the autonomic nervous system helps the body rest, relax, and digest food and another part helps a person fight or take flight in an emergency. Also called ANS and involuntary nervous system.
  • autophagy
  • A normal process in which a cell destroys proteins and other substances in its cytoplasm (the fluid inside the cell membrane but outside the nucleus), which may lead to cell death. Autophagy may prevent normal cells from developing into cancer cells, but it may also protect cancer cells by destroying anticancer drugs or substances taken up by them.
  • autosomal dominant
  • Refers to any of the chromosomes numbered 1-22 or the genes on chromosomes 1-22. This term excludes the sex-determining chromosomes, X and Y.
  • autosomal recessive
  • Autosomal recessive inheritance refers to genetic conditions that occur only when mutations are present in both copies of a given gene (i.e., the person is homozygous for a mutation, or carries two different mutations of the same gene, a state referred to as compound heterozygosity).
  • Avage
  • A drug used on the skin to treat several skin conditions. It is also being studied in the treatment of basal cell skin cancer and basal cell nevus syndrome. Avage is related to vitamin A and is made in the laboratory. It turns on a gene that may help stop the growth of skin cancer cells. Avage is a type of synthetic retinoid. Also called tazarotene and Tazorac.
  • Avandia
  • A drug that helps control the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood and is being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer. Avandia stops cells from growing and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of thiazolidinedione and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called rosiglitazone maleate.
  • Avastin
  • A drug used to treat several types of cancer, including certain types of colorectal, lung, breast, and kidney cancers and glioblastoma. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Avastin binds to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent and a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called bevacizumab.
  • Avelox
  • A drug used to treat bacterial infections. It is a type of fluoroquinolone. Also called moxifloxacin and moxifloxacin hydrochloride.
  • Avita
  • A topical preparation of tretinoin that is used to treat acne. Tretinoin is a form of vitamin A.
  • AVN944
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It blocks cells from making DNA and RNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) inhibitor.
  • Avodart
  • A drug used to treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland. It is being studied in the treatment of male hair loss and prostate cancer. Avodart blocks enzymes the body needs to make male sex hormones. It is a type of 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. Also called dutasteride and GG745.
  • avoidance
  • The act of staying away from people, places, and thoughts that may cause anxiety, pain, or unpleasant feelings. Some types of cancer-related avoidance include refusing to accept a cancer diagnosis or get treatment, and using alcohol or other drugs to forget about having cancer.
  • axillary dissection
  • Surgery to remove lymph nodes found in the armpit region. Also called axillary lymph node dissection.
  • axillary lymph node
  • Pertaining to the armpit area, including the lymph nodes that are located there.
  • axillary lymph node dissection
  • Surgery to remove lymph nodes found in the armpit region. Also called axillary dissection.
  • axitinib
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Axitinib blocks growth factor receptors and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of angiogenesis inhibitor.
  • azacitidine
  • A drug that is used to treat myelodysplastic syndromes and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. Also called Mylosar and Vidaza.
  • azaspirane
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of certain multiple myelomas and other advanced cancers. Azaspirane may block the growth of tumors and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. Azaspirane is a type of signal transduction inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called atiprimod and SK&F106615.
  • azathioprine sodium
  • A drug used to keep a patient from rejecting a transplanted kidney. It is also used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis that does not get better with other types of treatment. Azathioprine sodium blocks the growth of white blood cells and the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and protein. It is a type of immunosuppressant.
  • AZD0530
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. AZD0530 blocks enzymes needed for cancer growth. It is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor.
  • AZD2171
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. AZD2171 may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent and a type of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Also called cediranib maleate and Recentin.
  • AZD2281
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers caused by mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks an enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. AZD2281 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of targeted therapy and a type of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called olaparib and PARP inhibitor AZD2281.
  • AZD6244
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. AZD6244 blocks proteins needed for cell growth and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of protein kinase inhibitor. Also called MEK inhibitor AZD6244.
  • azoxymethane
  • A substance that is used in cancer research to cause colon tumors in laboratory animals. This is done to test new diets, drugs, and procedures for use in cancer prevention and treatment.
  • AZQ
  • An anticancer drug that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and kill cancer cells in the central nervous system. Also called diaziquone.
  • AZT
  • A drug that inhibits the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. Also called zidovudine.
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