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Medical Glossary

M

  • M protein
  • An antibody found in unusually large amounts in the blood or urine of people with multiple myeloma and other types of plasma cell tumors. Also called monoclonal protein.
  • M200
  • A monoclonal antibody that is 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. M200 binds to a protein that is found on cells that line some tumor blood vessels. It is a type of angiogenesis inhibitor. Also called volociximab.
  • ma huang
  • A shrub native to China and India. The stems and roots are used in traditional medicine as a diuretic and for asthma, bronchitis, and cough. It has also been promoted as a decongestant, a weight loss aid, and as a supplement to increase energy. Ma huang may cause high blood pressure, increased heart rate, or death if used with certain drugs, and may reduce the effects of certain drugs used to treat cancer and other diseases. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned the sale of dietary supplements that contain ma huang. The scientific name is Ephedra sinica . Also called ephedra.
  • macrocalcification
  • A small deposit of calcium in the breast that cannot be felt but can be seen on a mammogram. It is usually caused by aging, an old injury, or inflamed tissue and is usually not related to cancer.
  • macroglobulinemia
  • A condition in which the blood contains high levels of large proteins and is too thick to flow through small blood vessels. One type is Waldenström macroglobulinemia, which is a type of cancer.
  • macrophage
  • A type of white blood cell that surrounds and kills microorganisms, removes dead cells, and stimulates the action of other immune system cells.
  • 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. Macular degeneration is most often seen in people who are over the age of 50. Also called age-related macular degeneration, AMD, and ARMD.
  • mafosfamide
  • A form of cyclophosphamide that can be administered as an intrathecal infusion. Mafosfamide is being studied as an anticancer drug. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.
  • MAGE-3 antigen
  • A protein found in many types of tumors but not in most normal tissues. Vaccines using pieces of the MAGE-3 protein are being studied for their ability to boost the immune response to cancer cells in patients with cancer.
  • magnesium
  • In medicine, a mineral used by the body to help maintain muscles, nerves, and bones. It is also used in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.
  • magnesium sulfate
  • A drug used to treat pre-eclampsia and eclampsia (serious complications of pregnancy). Magnesium sulfate is also being studied for its ability to prevent the toxic side effects of certain drugs used to treat colorectal cancer. It is a type of anticonvulsant agent.
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • A procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer is used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue. Magnetic resonance imaging makes better images of organs and soft tissue than other scanning techniques, such as computed tomography (CT) or x-ray. Magnetic resonance imaging is especially useful for imaging the brain, the spine, the soft tissue of joints, and the inside of bones. Also called MRI, NMRI, and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging.
  • magnetic resonance perfusion imaging
  • A special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that uses an injected dye in order to see blood flow through tissues. Also called perfusion magnetic resonance imaging.
  • magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging
  • A noninvasive imaging method that provides information about cellular activity (metabolic information). It is used along with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which provides information about the shape and size of the tumor (spatial information). Also called 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, MRSI, and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging.
  • magnetic-targeted carrier
  • A tiny bead made from particles of iron and carbon that can be attached to an anticancer drug. A magnet applied from outside the body then can direct the drug to the tumor site. This can keep a larger dose of the drug at the tumor site for a longer period of time, and help protect healthy tissue from the side effects of chemotherapy.
  • Magnevist
  • A substance used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to help make clear pictures of the brain, spine, heart, soft tissue of joints, and inside bones. Magnevist is being studied in the diagnosis of cancer. It is a type of contrast agent. Also called gadopentetate dimeglumine and Gd-DTPA.
  • maidenhair tree
  • A tree native to China. Substances taken from the leaves and seeds have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. Maidenhair tree has been studied in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer disease, dementia, certain blood vessel diseases, and memory loss. It may cause bleeding or high blood pressure when used with certain drugs. Also called ginkgo and ginkgo biloba.
  • mainstream 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 allopathic medicine, biomedicine, conventional medicine, orthodox medicine, and Western medicine.
  • maintenance therapy
  • Treatment that is given to help keep cancer from coming back after it has disappeared following the initial therapy. It may include treatment with drugs, vaccines, or antibodies that kill cancer cells, and it may be given for a long time.
  • malabsorption syndrome
  • A group of symptoms such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea resulting from the body's inability to properly absorb nutrients.
  • male breast cancer
  • Cancer that forms in tissues of the breast in men. Most male breast cancer begins in cells lining the ducts. It is very rare and usually affects older men.
  • malignancy
  • A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Malignant cells can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. There are several main types of malignancy. Carcinoma is a malignancy that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs. Sarcoma is a malignancy that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue. Leukemia is a malignancy that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow, and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood. Lymphoma and multiple myeloma are malignancies that begin in the cells of the immune system. Central nervous system cancers are malignancies that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord. Also called cancer.
  • malignant ascites
  • Cancerous. Malignant tumors can invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.
  • malignant ectomesenchymoma
  • A rare, fast-growing tumor of the nervous system or soft tissue that occurs in children and young adults. Malignant ectomesenchymomas may form in the head and neck, abdomen, perineum, scrotum, or limbs. Also called ectomesenchymoma.
  • malignant fibrous cytoma
  • A soft tissue sarcoma that usually occurs in the limbs, most commonly the legs, and may also occur in the abdomen. Also called malignant fibrous histiocytoma.
  • malignant fibrous histiocytoma
  • A soft tissue sarcoma that usually occurs in the limbs, most commonly the legs, and may also occur in the abdomen. Also called malignant fibrous cytoma.
  • malignant melanoma of soft parts
  • A soft tissue tumor that begins in a tendon (tough, fibrous, cord-like tissue that connects muscle to bone or to another structure). Malignant melanoma of soft parts has certain markers that are also found on malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer). It usually occurs in the leg or arm. Also called clear cell sarcoma of soft tissue.
  • malignant meningioma
  • A rare, fast-growing tumor that forms in one of the inner layers of the meninges (thin layers of tissue that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord). Malignant meningioma often spreads to other areas of the body.
  • malignant mesothelioma
  • A rare type of cancer in which malignant cells are found in the lining of the chest or abdomen. Exposure to airborne asbestos particles increases one's risk of developing malignant mesothelioma.
  • malignant mixed Müllerian tumor
  • A rare type of tumor that is a mixture of carcinoma and sarcoma cells. MMMT usually occurs in the uterus. Also called MMMT.
  • malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor
  • A type of soft tissue sarcoma that develops in cells that form a protective sheath (covering) around peripheral nerves, which are nerves that are outside of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Also called MPNST.
  • malignant pleural effusion
  • A condition in which cancer causes an abnormal amount of fluid to collect between the thin layers of tissue (pleura) lining the outside of the lung and the wall of the chest cavity. Lung cancer, breast cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia cause most malignant pleural effusions.
  • malnourished
  • Describes a condition caused by not getting enough calories or the right amount of key nutrients needed for health. Key nutrients include vitamins and minerals.
  • malnutrition
  • A condition caused by not getting enough calories or the right amount of key nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, that are needed for health. Malnutrition may occur when there is a lack of nutrients in the diet or when the body cannot absorb nutrients from food. Cancer and cancer treatment may cause malnutrition.
  • malondialdehyde
  • A byproduct of lipid (fat) metabolism in the body. It is also found in many foods and can be present in high amounts in rancid food.
  • MALT lymphoma
  • A type of cancer that arises in cells in mucosal tissue that are involved in antibody production. Also called mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma.
  • mammalian target of rapamycin
  • A protein that helps control several cell functions, including cell division and survival, and binds to rapamycin and other drugs. Mammalian target of rapamycin may be more active in some types of cancer cells than it is in normal cells. Blocking mammalian target of rapamycin may cause the cancer cells to die. It is a type of serine/threonine protein kinase. Also called mTOR.
  • mammary dysplasia
  • Having to do with the breast.
  • mammary gland
  • Glandular organ located on the chest. The mammary gland is made up of connective tissue, fat, and tissue that contains the glands that can make milk. Also called breast.
  • mammogram
  • An x-ray of the breast.
  • mammography
  • The use of film or a computer to create a picture of the breast.
  • Mammotome
  • A device that uses a computer-guided probe to perform breast biopsies. A Mammotome biopsy can be done on an outpatient basis with a local anesthetic, removes only a small amount of healthy tissue, and doesn’t require sutures (stitches) because the incision is very small.
  • mannitol
  • A drug used to decrease swelling of the brain and to treat kidney failure. Mannitol can also be used to open the blood-brain barrier, which allows anticancer medicines to enter the brain and treat brain tumors.
  • mantle cell lymphoma
  • An aggressive (fast-growing) type of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma that usually occurs in middle-aged or older adults. It is marked by small- to medium-size cancer cells that may be in the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, blood, and gastrointestinal system.
  • mantle field
  • The area of the neck, chest, and lymph nodes in the armpit that are exposed to radiation.
  • MAO inhibitor
  • A type of drug used to treat depression. It stops the breakdown of certain chemicals in the brain that help improve a person’s mood. A MAO inhibitor is a type of antidepressant. Also called monoamine oxidase inhibitor.
  • mapatumumab
  • 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. Mapatumumab is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called anti-TRAIL R1-mAb and HGS-ETR1.
  • Marcaine
  • A drug used to relieve pain by blocking signals at nerve endings. It is being studied in the relief of pain following surgery for cancer. It is a type of local anesthetic. Also called bupivacaine, bupivacaine hydrochloride, and Sensorcaine.
  • margin
  • The edge or border of the tissue removed in cancer surgery. The margin is described as negative or clean when the pathologist finds no cancer cells at the edge of the tissue, suggesting that all of the cancer has been removed. The margin is described as positive or involved when the pathologist finds cancer cells at the edge of the tissue, suggesting that all of the cancer has not been removed.
  • marginal zone B-cell lymphoma
  • An indolent (slow-growing) type of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma that begins forming in certain areas (the marginal zones) of lymph tissue. There are three types based on whether it forms in the spleen, lymph nodes, or other lymphoid tissue that contains a lot of B cells (a type of white blood cell). Also called marginal zone lymphoma and MZL.
  • marginal zone lymphoma
  • An indolent (slow-growing) type of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma that begins forming in certain areas (the marginal zones) of lymph tissue. There are three types based on whether it forms in the spleen, lymph nodes, or other lymphoid tissue that contains a lot of B cells (a type of white blood cell). Also called marginal zone B-cell lymphoma and MZL.
  • maribavir
  • A substance that blocks the ability of viruses to make new viruses and infect cells. It is being studied in the prevention of cytomegalovirus infection in cancer patients who have had a donor stem cell transplant. It is a type of antiviral agent.
  • marijuana
  • The dried leaves and flowering tops of the Cannabis sativa plant, or an extract from the plant. Marijuana is being studied in the treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy or opiate drugs, such as morphine sulfate. Marijuana is also being studied in the treatment of pain.
  • marimastat
  • An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. Marimastat is a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor.
  • marker
  • A diagnostic indication that disease may develop.
  • MART-1 antigen
  • A protein found on normal melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin) in the skin and in the retina. It is also found on most melanomas (cancers that begin in melanocytes). Vaccines using pieces of the MART-1 antigen are being studied for their ability to boost the immune response to cancer cells in patients with melanoma. Also called Melan-A protein and Melanoma Antigen Recognized by T cells 1.
  • masoprocol
  • A drug put on the skin to treat growths caused by sun exposure. A form of masoprocol that is taken by mouth is being studied in the treatment of prostate cancer. Masoprocol is an antioxidant, and it may block certain enzymes needed for tumor growth. Also called Actinex, NDGA, and nordihydroguaiaretic acid.
  • massage therapy
  • In medicine, a lump in the body. It may be caused by the abnormal growth of cells, a cyst, hormonal changes, or an immune reaction. A mass may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).
  • mast cell tumor
  • A type of white blood cell.
  • mastectomy
  • Surgery to remove the breast (or as much of the breast tissue as possible).
  • mastitis
  • A condition in which breast tissue is inflamed. It is usually caused by an infection and is most often seen in nursing mothers.
  • mastocytoma
  • A growth or lump of mast cells (a type of white blood cell). Mast cell tumors can involve the skin, subcutaneous tissue, and muscle tissue. Also called mast cell tumor.
  • maternal
  • Having to do with or coming from the mother.
  • matrix metalloproteinase
  • A member of a group of enzymes that can break down proteins, such as collagen, that are normally found in the spaces between cells in tissues (i.e., extracellular matrix proteins). Because these enzymes need zinc or calcium atoms to work properly, they are called metalloproteinases. Matrix metalloproteinases are involved in wound healing, angiogenesis, and tumor cell metastasis.
  • Matulane
  • A drug that is used to treat advanced Hodgkin lymphoma and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Matulane blocks cells from making proteins and damages DNA. It may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antineoplastic agent and a type of alkylating agent. Also called procarbazine hydrochloride.
  • mature T-cell lymphoma
  • One of a group of aggressive (fast-growing) non-Hodgkin lymphomas that begin in mature T lymphocytes (T cells that have matured in the thymus gland and gone to other lymphatic sites in the body, including lymph nodes, bone marrow, and spleen.) Also called peripheral T-cell lymphoma.
  • mature teratoma
  • A type of benign (not cancer) germ cell tumor (type of tumor that begins in the cells that give rise to sperm or eggs) that often contains several different types of tissue such as hair, muscle, and bone. Also called dermoid cyst.
  • matuzumab
  • A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells. Matuzumab binds to the epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) on tumor cells and blocks growth signals. Also called EMD 72000.
  • Maxamine
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer and other conditions. When used together with interleukin-2, Maxamine may help some immune cells find and kill tumor cells. It is a type of biological response modifier. Also called histamine dihydrochloride.
  • maxillary sinus
  • A type of paranasal sinus (a hollow space in the bones around the nose). There are two large maxillary sinuses, one in each of the maxillary bones, which are in the cheek area next to the nose. The maxillary sinuses are lined with cells that make mucus to keep the nose from drying out.
  • maximum inspiratory pressure test
  • A test that measures the strength of the muscles used in breathing. A person inhales and exhales through a device called a manometer, and the pressures are recorded by a computer. Also called MIP test.
  • maximum tolerated dose
  • The highest dose of a drug or treatment that does not cause unacceptable side effects. The maximum tolerated dose is determined in clinical trials by testing increasing doses on different groups of people until the highest dose with acceptable side effects is found. Also called MTD.
  • maytansinoid DM4-conjugated humanized monoclonal antibody huC242
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It is made by linking the monoclonal antibody huC242 to a toxic substance called maytansinoid DM4. The monoclonal antibody locates and binds to the surfaces of cancer cells and the maytansinoid DM4 enters the cells and blocks their growth. It is a type of immunotoxin. Also called huC242-DM4.
  • MBL
  • A condition in which a higher-than-normal number of identical B cells are found in the blood. People with MBL may develop other B-cell diseases, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Also called monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis.
  • MC1R
  • A protein found in skin and eye cells that make melanin (a pigment that gives color to the skin and helps protect it from damage by ultraviolet light). People with certain changes in the gene for MC1R have a higher risk of developing melanoma (skin cancer that begins in melanocytes). Also called melanocortin 1 receptor and melanotropin receptor.
  • MDL 101,731
  • A drug that belongs to a family of drugs called ribonucleotide reductase inhibitors.
  • MDR modulator CBT-1
  • A substance taken from plants that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It may help drugs kill tumor cells that have become resistant to drugs. It is a type of multidrug resistance inhibitor and a type of P-glycoprotein antagonist. Also called CBT-1.
  • MDX-010
  • A monoclonal antibody being studied in the treatment of certain types of cancer. MDX-010 is made in the laboratory and binds to the molecule CTLA-4 on T cells (a type of white blood cell). MDX-010 may block CTLA-4 and help the immune system kill cancer cells. Also called ipilimumab.
  • MDX-060
  • A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the treatment of some lymphomas. Monoclonal antibodies are produced in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells.
  • mean
  • A statistics term. The average value in a set of measurements. The mean is the sum of a set of numbers divided by how many numbers are in the set.
  • mean survival time
  • The average time that patients in a clinical study remained alive. The time is measured beginning either at diagnosis or the start of treatment. Also called mean survival.
  • measles virus
  • The virus that causes measles (a highly contagious disease marked by fever, cough, and raised red spots on the skin). The measles virus usually affects children, and is spread by coughing or contact with fluid from the nose or mouth of someone who has been infected.
  • measurable disease
  • A tumor that can be accurately measured in size. This information can be used to judge response to treatment.
  • mechlorethamine hydrochloride
  • A drug used to treat some types of cancer and some skin conditions that may become cancer. It attaches to the cell's DNA and may kill cancer cells. Mechlorethamine hydrochloride is a type of alkylating agent. Also called Mustargen and mustine.
  • MEDI-507
  • A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the treatment of certain lymphoproliferative disorders and psoriasis. Also called siplizumab.
  • MEDI-522
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer and other conditions. MEDI-522 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 Abegrin, etaracizumab, and humanized monoclonal antibody MEDI-522.
  • medial supraclavicular lymph node
  • A lymph node located above the collar bone and between the center of the body and a line drawn through the nipple to the shoulder.
  • median survival time
  • A statistics term. The middle value in a set of measurements.
  • median umbilical ligament
  • A fibrous cord that connects the urinary bladder to the umbilicus (navel). The median umbilical ligament is formed as the allantoic stalk during fetal development and lasts through life. Also called urachus.
  • mediastinal pleura
  • The thin membrane that lines the chest cavity in the area between the lungs.
  • mediastinoscope
  • A thin, tube-like instrument used to examine the tissues and lymph nodes in the area between the lungs. These tissues include the heart and its large blood vessels, trachea, esophagus, and bronchi. The mediastinoscope has a light and a lens for viewing and may also have a tool to remove tissue. It is inserted into the chest through a cut above the breastbone.
  • mediastinoscopy
  • A procedure in which a mediastinoscope is used to examine the organs in the area between the lungs and nearby lymph nodes. A mediastinoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease. The mediastinoscope is inserted into the chest through an incision above the breastbone. This procedure is usually done to get a tissue sample from the lymph nodes on the right side of the chest.
  • mediastinum
  • The area between the lungs. The organs in this area include the heart and its large blood vessels, the trachea, the esophagus, the thymus, and lymph nodes but not the lungs.
  • Medicaid
  • A health insurance program for people who cannot afford regular medical care. The program is run by U.S. federal, state, and local governments. People who receive Medicaid may have to pay a small amount for the services they get.
  • medical castration
  • Refers to the use of drugs to suppress the function of the ovaries or testicles.
  • medical device
  • An instrument, tool, machine, test kit, or implant that is used to prevent, diagnose, or treat disease or other conditions. Medical devices range from tongue depressors to heart pacemakers and medical imaging equipment.
  • medical nutrition therapy
  • Treatment based on nutrition. It includes checking a person’s nutrition status, and giving the right foods or nutrients to treat conditions such as those caused by diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It may involve simple changes in a person’s diet, or intravenous or tube feeding. Medical nutrition therapy may help patients recover more quickly and spend less time in the hospital. Also called nutrition therapy.
  • medical oncologist
  • A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy, and targeted therapy. A medical oncologist often is the main health care provider for someone who has cancer. A medical oncologist also gives supportive care and may coordinate treatment given by other specialists.
  • Medicare
  • A U.S. federal health insurance program for people aged 65 years or older and people with certain disabilities. Medicare pays for hospital stays, medical services, and some prescription drugs but people who receive Medicare must pay part of their healthcare costs.
  • medication
  • A legal drug that is used to prevent, treat, or relieve symptoms of a disease or abnormal condition.
  • medicine
  • Refers to the practices and procedures used for the prevention, treatment, or relief of symptoms of a diseases or abnormal conditions. This term may also refer to a legal drug used for the same purpose.
  • medroxyprogesterone acetate
  • A hormonal anticancer drug that is also used in cancer prevention. It belongs to the family of drugs called progestins.
  • M-EDTA
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of bacterial infections from catheters (flexible tubes used to deliver fluids into or take fluids from the body). It combines a drug used to treat infections with a drug that prevents blood clots. It is a type of tetracycline antibiotic. Also called minocycline-EDTA.
  • medullary breast carcinoma
  • A rare type of breast cancer that often can be treated successfully. It is marked by lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) in and around the tumor that can be seen when viewed under a microscope.
  • medullary thyroid cancer
  • Cancer that develops in C cells of the thyroid. The C cells make a hormone (calcitonin) that helps maintain a healthy level of calcium in the blood.
  • medulloblastoma
  • A malignant brain tumor that begins in the lower part of the brain and that can spread to the spine or to other parts of the body. Medulloblastomas are a type of primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET).
  • Megace
  • A drug used to block estrogen and suppress the effects of estrogen and androgens. It is used to treat breast and endometrial cancer, and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It is also used to improve appetite in patients with cancer. Megace belongs to the group of hormones called progestins. Also called megestrol.
  • mega-voltage linear accelerator
  • A machine that uses electricity to form a stream of fast-moving subatomic particles. This creates high-energy radiation that may be used to treat cancer. Also called linac, linear accelerator, and MeV linear accelerator.
  • megestrol
  • A drug used to block estrogen and suppress the effects of estrogen and androgens. It is used to treat breast and endometrial cancer, and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It is also used to improve appetite in patients with cancer. Megestrol belongs to the group of hormones called progestins. Also called Megace.
  • meiosis
  • A special form of cell division in which each daughter cell receives half the amount of DNA as the parent cell. Meiosis occurs during formation of egg and sperm cells in mammals.
  • MEK inhibitor AZD6244
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. MEK inhibitor AZD6244 blocks proteins needed for cell growth and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of protein kinase inhibitor. Also called AZD6244.
  • Melan-A protein
  • A protein found on normal melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin) in the skin and in the retina. It is also found on most melanomas (cancers that begin in melanocytes). Vaccines using pieces of the Melan-A protein are being studied for their ability to boost the immune response to cancer cells in patients with melanoma. Also called MART-1 antigen and Melanoma Antigen Recognized by T cells 1.
  • melanin
  • A pigment that gives color to skin and eyes and helps protect it from damage by ultraviolet light.
  • melanocortin 1 receptor
  • A protein found in skin and eye cells that make melanin (a pigment that gives color to the skin and helps protect it from damage by ultraviolet light). People with certain changes in the gene for melanocortin 1 receptor have a higher risk of developing melanoma (skin cancer that begins in melanocytes). Also called MC1R and melanotropin receptor.
  • melanocyte
  • A cell in the skin and eyes that produces and contains the pigment called melanin.
  • melanoma
  • A form of cancer that begins in melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin). It may begin in a mole (skin melanoma), but can also begin in other pigmented tissues, such as in the eye or in the intestines.
  • Melanoma Antigen Recognized by T cells 1
  • A protein found on normal melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin) in the skin and in the retina. It is also found on most melanomas (cancers that begin in melanocytes). Vaccines using pieces of the Melanoma Antigen Recognized by T cells 1 are being studied for their ability to boost the immune response to cancer cells in patients with melanoma. Also called MART-1 antigen and Melan-A protein.
  • melanoma in situ
  • Abnormal melanocytes (cells that make melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color) are found in the epidermis (outer layer of the skin). These abnormal melanocytes may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Also called stage 0 melanoma.
  • melanoma vaccine
  • A cancer vaccine prepared from human melanoma cancer cells. It can be used alone or with other therapy in treating melanoma.
  • melanotropin receptor
  • A protein found in skin and eye cells that make melanin (a pigment that gives color to the skin and helps protect it from damage by ultraviolet light). People with certain changes in the gene for melanotropin receptor have a higher risk of developing melanoma (skin cancer that begins in melanocytes). Also called MC1R and melanocortin 1 receptor.
  • melatonin
  • A hormone made by the pineal gland (tiny organ near the center of the brain). Melatonin helps control the body’s sleep cycle, and is an antioxidant. It is also made in the laboratory and sold as a supplement.
  • melphalan
  • 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 Alkeran.
  • memantine hydrochloride
  • A drug used to treat dementia caused by Alzheimer disease. It is also being studied in the treatment of side effects from whole-brain radiation therapy for cancer and other conditions. Memantine hydrochloride blocks the uptake of calcium by certain brain cells and decreases their activity. It is a type of N-methyl-D-asparatate (NMDA) receptor antagonist. Also called Namenda.
  • membrane
  • A very thin layer of tissue that covers a surface.
  • MEN syndrome
  • An inherited condition that may result in the development of cancers of the endocrine system. There are several types of MEN syndrome, and patients with each type may develop different types of cancer. The altered genes that cause each type can be detected with a blood test. Also called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome.
  • MEN1 syndrome
  • A rare, inherited disorder that affects the endocrine glands and can cause tumors in the parathyroid and pituitary glands and the pancreas. These tumors are usually benign (not cancer). They cause the glands to secrete high levels of hormones, which can lead to other medical problems, such as kidney stones, fertility problems, and severe ulcers. In some cases, tumors inside the pancreas can become malignant (cancer). Also called multiple endocrine adenomatosis, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 syndrome, and Wermer syndrome.
  • MEN-10755
  • An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics.
  • Ménétrier disease
  • A condition marked by inflammation and ulcers (breaks on the skin or on the surface of an organ) of the mucosa (inner lining) of the stomach and by overgrowth of the cells that make up the mucosa. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Patients with Ménétrier disease may be at a higher risk of stomach cancer. Also called gastric mucosal hypertrophy and giant hypertrophic gastritis.
  • meningeal
  • Having to do with the meninges (three thin layers of tissue that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord).
  • meningeal carcinomatosis
  • A serious problem that may occur in cancer in which cancer cells spread from the original (primary) tumor to the meninges (thin layers of tissue that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord). It can happen in many types of cancer, but is the most common in melanoma, breast, lung, and gastrointestinal cancer. The cancer may cause the meninges to be inflamed. Also called carcinomatous meningitis, leptomeningeal cancer, leptomeningeal carcinoma, leptomeningeal metastasis, meningeal metastasis, and neoplastic meningitis.
  • meningeal metastasis
  • A serious problem that may occur in cancer in which cancer cells spread from the original (primary) tumor to the meninges (thin layers of tissue that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord). It can happen in many types of cancer, but is the most common in melanoma, breast, lung, and gastrointestinal cancer. The cancer may cause the meninges to be inflamed. Also called carcinomatous meningitis, leptomeningeal cancer, leptomeningeal carcinoma, leptomeningeal metastasis, meningeal carcinomatosis, and neoplastic meningitis.
  • meninges
  • The three thin layers of tissue that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord.
  • meningioma
  • A type of slow-growing tumor that forms in the meninges (thin layers of tissue that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord). Meningiomas usually occur in adults.
  • meningitis
  • Inflammation of the meninges (three thin layers of tissue that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord). Meningitis is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection, but sometimes is caused by cancer, drug allergies, or inflammatory diseases.
  • menopausal hormone therapy
  • Hormones (estrogen, progesterone, or both) given to women after menopause to replace the hormones no longer produced by the ovaries. Also called hormone replacement therapy and HRT.
  • menopause
  • The time of life when a woman’s ovaries stop producing hormones and menstrual periods stop. Natural menopause usually occurs around age 50. A woman is said to be in menopause when she hasn’t had a period for 12 months in a row. Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating, and infertility.
  • menorrhagia
  • Abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • menstrual cycle
  • The monthly cycle of hormonal changes from the beginning of one menstrual period to the beginning of the next.
  • menstrual period
  • The periodic discharge of blood and tissue from the uterus. From puberty until menopause, menstruation occurs about every 28 days, but does not occur during pregnancy.
  • menstruation
  • Periodic discharge of blood and tissue from the uterus. From puberty until menopause, menstruation occurs about every 28 days when a woman is not pregnant.
  • mental health counselor
  • A person’s overall psychological and emotional condition. Good mental health is a state of well-being in which a person is able to cope with everyday events, think clearly, be responsible, meet challenges, and have good relationships with others.
  • menthol
  • A substance that comes from mint oils or is made in the laboratory. It is used to relieve itching and to treat problems in the upper respiratory tract. Menthol causes a cooling sensation when eaten or put on the skin and it acts as a mild pain killer. It is found in nasal sprays, cough drops, inhalers, creams, and lotions. It is also used as a flavor in many food and oral hygiene products.
  • MEPACT
  • A drug being studied in the treatment of young adults with bone cancer that has gotten worse or come back. MEPACT activates certain types of white blood cells and helps the immune system kill cancer cells. It is a type of immunostimulant. Also called L-MTP-PE, mifamurtide, and muramyl tripeptide phosphatidylethanolamine.
  • meperidine hydrochloride
  • A drug used to treat moderate to severe pain. It binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. Meperidine hydrochloride is a type of analgesic agent and a type of opioid. Also called Demerol.
  • mercaptopurine
  • A drug used to treat acute lymphatic leukemia. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. Also called Purinethol.
  • mercury
  • A silver-white, poisonous metal that is a liquid at ordinary temperatures. It is commonly used in thermometers and amalgams, and has been used as an ingredient in some homeopathic medicines and in very small amounts as a preservative in viral vaccines.
  • mercy killing
  • An easy or painless death, or the intentional ending of the life of a person suffering from an incurable or painful disease at his or her request. Also called euthanasia.
  • meridian
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, one of 20 channels that form a network through which qi (the body's vital energy) flows and that connect the body’s acupuncture sites.
  • Merkel cell cancer
  • A rare type of cancer that forms on or just beneath the skin, usually in parts of the body that have been exposed to the sun. It is most common in older people and in people with weakened immune systems. Also called Merkel cell carcinoma, neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin, and trabecular cancer.
  • Merkel cell carcinoma
  • A rare type of cancer that forms on or just beneath the skin, usually in parts of the body that have been exposed to the sun. It is most common in older people and in people with weakened immune systems. Also called Merkel cell cancer, neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin, and trabecular cancer.
  • mesenchymal
  • Refers to cells that develop into connective tissue, blood vessels, and lymphatic tissue.
  • mesenteric membrane
  • The peritoneal membrane that attaches the intestines to the abdominal wall near the back.
  • mesna
  • A drug that helps protect the kidneys and bladder from the toxic effects of anticancer drugs such as ifosfamide and cyclophosphamide.
  • mesonephroma
  • A rare type of tumor, usually of the female genital tract, in which the insides of the cells look clear when viewed under a microscope. Also called clear cell adenocarcinoma and clear cell carcinoma.
  • mesothelin
  • A protein found on the surface of certain types of normal cells and cancer cells. Mesothelin may help these cells stick together and send signals. A higher-than-normal amount of mesothelin is found on some cancer cells, including mesothelioma, pancreatic cancer, and ovarian cancer.
  • mesothelioma
  • A benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer) tumor affecting the lining of the chest or abdomen. Exposure to asbestos particles in the air increases the risk of developing malignant mesothelioma.
  • metabolic acidosis
  • A condition in which the blood is too acidic. It may be caused by severe illness or sepsis (bacteria in the bloodstream).
  • metabolic disorder
  • Having to do with metabolism (the total of all chemical changes that take place in a cell or an organism to produce energy and basic materials needed for important life processes).
  • metabolic syndrome X
  • A condition is marked by extra fat around the abdomen, high levels of blood glucose (sugar) when not eating, high levels of triglycerides (a type of fat) in the blood, low levels of high-density lipoproteins (a type of protein that carries fats) in the blood, and high blood pressure. People with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of diabetes mellitus and diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Also called metabolic syndrome X.
  • metabolic therapy
  • Treatment to correct changes in metabolism that can be caused by disease.
  • metabolic type
  • In alternative medicine, a theory that people fall into one of three groups (protein, carbohydrate, or mixed type) based on the main type of food that their bodies need to stay healthy.
  • metabolism
  • The total of all chemical changes that take place in a cell or an organism. These changes make energy and the materials needed for growth, reproduction, and maintaining health. They also help get rid of toxic substances.
  • metabolite
  • A substance made or used when the body breaks down food, drugs or chemicals, or its own tissue (for example, fat or muscle tissue). This process, called metabolism, makes energy and the materials needed for growth, reproduction, and maintaining health. It also helps get rid of toxic substances.
  • metallic
  • Having to do with metal. Some cancer treatments may change the sense of taste and cause foods to have a metallic taste.
  • metaplasia
  • A change of cells to a form that does not normally occur in the tissue in which it is found.
  • metaplastic carcinoma
  • A general term used to describe cancer that begins in cells that have changed into another cell type (for example, a squamous cell of the esophagus changing to resemble a cell of the stomach). In some cases, metaplastic changes alone may mean there is an increased chance of cancer developing at the site.
  • metastasectomy
  • Surgery to remove one or more metastases (tumors formed from cells that have spread from the primary tumor). When all metastases are removed, it is called a complete metastasectomy.
  • metastasis
  • The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another. A tumor formed by cells that have spread is called a “metastatic tumor” or a “metastasis.” The metastatic tumor contains cells that are like those in the original (primary) tumor. The plural form of metastasis is metastases (meh-TAS-tuh-SEEZ).
  • metastasize
  • To spread from one part of the body to another. When cancer cells metastasize and form secondary tumors, the cells in the metastatic tumor are like those in the original (primary) tumor.
  • metastatic
  • Having to do with metastasis, which is the spread of cancer from the primary site (place where it started) to other places in the body.
  • metasynchronous
  • Occurring at nearly the same time.
  • meteorism
  • Swelling of the abdomen caused by gas in the intestines or peritoneal cavity. Also called tympanites.
  • metformin
  • The active ingredient in a drug used to treat diabetes mellitus (a condition in which the body cannot control the level of sugar in the blood). It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. It decreases the amount of glucose (a type of sugar) released into the bloodstream from the liver and increases the body’s use of the glucose. Metformin is a type of antidiabetic agent.
  • metformin hydrochloride
  • A drug used to treat diabetes mellitus (a condition in which the body cannot control the level of sugar in the blood ). It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. It decreases the amount of glucose (a type of sugar) released into the bloodstream from the liver and increases the body’s use of the glucose. Metformin hydrochloride is a type of antidiabetic agent. Also called Glucophage.
  • methadone hydrochloride
  • A drug used to treat moderate to severe pain that does not respond to other types of pain medicine. It is also used to help people who are addicted to opioid drugs such as heroin. Methadone hydrochloride binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. It is a type of analgesic agent and a type of opioid.
  • methodology
  • In medicine, the rules and procedures for doing research and evaluating results.
  • methotrexate
  • A drug used to treat some types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and severe skin conditions, such as psoriasis. Methotrexate stops cells from making DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimetabolite. Also called amethopterin, MTX, and Rheumatrex.
  • methoxsalen
  • A drug used together with UV light to treat psoriasis, vitiligo, and skin nodules of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. It is also being studied in the treatment of graft-versus-host disease. It belongs to the family of drugs called psoralens and furocoumarins.
  • methoxyamine hydrochloride
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It blocks the ability of a cell to repair damage to its DNA and may kill cancer cells. It may also help some anticancer drugs work better. It is a type of antineoplastic agent.
  • methoxypolyethylene glycol epoetin beta
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of anemia in patients who are receiving chemotherapy. It is a form of erythropoietin (a substance produced in the kidneys that stimulates the production of red blood cells) that has been changed in the laboratory. Also called Ro 50-3821.
  • methyl group
  • A small molecule made of one carbon and three hydrogen atoms. Methyl groups are added or removed from proteins or nucleic acids and may change the way these molecules act in the body.
  • methyl-5-aminolevulinate
  • A drug used in photodynamic therapy; it is absorbed by tumor cells and, when exposed to light, becomes active and kills the cancer cells.
  • methylation
  • A chemical reaction in which a small molecule called a methyl group is added to other molecules. Methylation of proteins or nucleic acids may affect how they act in the body.
  • methylnaltrexone
  • The active ingredient in a drug used to relieve certain side effects caused by treatment with opiods (pain killers similar to morphine), such as constipation (hard, dry stools), itching, and low urine flow. Methylnaltrexone binds to opioid receptors outside the brain and may block the side effects of opioid drugs without affecting their ability to relieve pain. Methylnaltrexone is a type of peripheral opioid receptor antagonist.
  • methylnaltrexone bromide
  • A drug used to relieve certain side effects caused by treatment with opiods (pain killers similar to morphine), such as constipation (hard, dry stools), itching, and low urine flow. Methylnaltrexone bromide binds to opioid receptors outside the brain and may block the side effects of opioid drugs without affecting their ability to relieve pain. Methylnaltrexone bromide is a type of peripheral opioid receptor antagonist. Also called Relistor.
  • methylphenidate
  • A drug that is a central nervous system stimulant. Also called Concerta and Ritalin.
  • methylprednisolone
  • A corticosteroid hormone replacement.
  • metoclopramide
  • A drug that increases the motility (movements and contractions) of the stomach and upper intestine. It is used to treat certain stomach problems and nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It is a type of antiemetic and a type of motility agent. Also called Reglan.
  • metronidazole
  • A drug that is used to treat infection and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of antibacterial, antiprotozoal, and anthelmintic. Also called Flagyl.
  • metronomic therapy
  • Continuous or frequent treatment with low doses of anticancer drugs, often given with other methods of therapy.
  • MeV linear accelerator
  • A machine that uses electricity to form a stream of fast-moving subatomic particles. This creates high-energy radiation that may be used to treat cancer. Also called linac, linear accelerator, and mega-voltage linear accelerator.
  • Mevacor
  • A drug used to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood. It is also being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer. Mevacor is a type of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor (statin). Also called lovastatin.
  • Mexican valerian
  • A plant whose roots are used as a sedative and to treat certain medical conditions. It is being studied as a way to improve sleep in cancer patients undergoing treatment. Also called garden heliotrope, garden valerian, Indian valerian, Pacific valerian, valerian, Valeriana officinalis, and Valerianae radix.
  • MG98
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It blocks the production of a protein called DNA methyltransferase, which helps control gene expression. This may kill cancer cells that need DNA methyltransferase to grow. It is a type of antisense oligonucleotide.
  • MGCD0103
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. It blocks enzymes needed for cell division and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. Also called mocetinostat.
  • MGUS
  • A benign condition in which there is a higher-than-normal level of a protein called M protein in the blood. Patients with MGUS are at an increased risk of developing cancer. Also called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance.
  • micelle
  • A tiny particle made of substances that are soluble in water and that come together to form a ball-like shape. These particles can carry other substances inside them. In medicine, micelles are made in the laboratory and are used to carry drugs to body tissues and cells.
  • microbicide
  • Any substance or process that kills germs (bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that can cause infection and disease). Also called germicide.
  • microcalcification
  • A tiny deposit of calcium in the breast that cannot be felt but can be detected on a mammogram. A cluster of these very small specks of calcium may indicate that cancer is present.
  • microfluidic device
  • An instrument that uses very small amounts of fluid on a microchip to do certain laboratory tests. A microfluidic device may use body fluids or solutions containing cells or cell parts to diagnose diseases. Also called lab-on-a-chip.
  • microgram
  • One millionth of a gram.
  • microliter
  • A measure of volume for a liquid, using the metric system. One microliter is equal to a millionth of a liter. Also called µL.
  • micrometastasis
  • Small numbers of cancer cells that have spread from the primary tumor to other parts of the body and are too few to be picked up in a screening or diagnostic test.
  • micromolar
  • A concentration of 1/1,000,000 (one millionth) molecular weight per liter (mol/L).
  • micromole
  • The amount of a substance equal to a millionth of a mole (a measure of the amount of a substance). Also called µM.
  • micronutrient
  • A substance the body needs in tiny amounts to grow and stay healthy. Examples are vitamins and minerals.
  • microorganism
  • An organism that can be seen only through a microscope. Microorganisms include bacteria, protozoa, algae, and fungi. Although viruses are not considered living organisms, they are sometimes classified as microorganisms.
  • microsatellite instability
  • A short sequence of DNA, usually 1 to 4 basepairs (a unit of DNA), that is repeated together in a row along the DNA molecule. There is variation from person to person in the number of repeats. There are hundreds of places in human DNA that contain microsatellites.
  • microscope
  • An instrument that is used to look at cells and other small objects that cannot be seen with the eye alone.
  • microscopic
  • Too small to be seen without a microscope.
  • microsphere
  • A very tiny, hollow, round particle made from glass, ceramic, plastic, or other materials. Microspheres injected into blood vessels that feed a tumor may kill the tumor by blocking its blood supply. They can also be filled with a substance that may help kill more tumor cells.
  • microstaging
  • A technique used to help determine the stage (extent) of melanoma and certain squamous cell cancers. A sample of skin that contains tumor tissue is examined under a microscope to find out how thick the tumor is and/or how deeply the tumor has grown into the skin or connective tissues.
  • microwave acupuncture
  • A type of acupuncture in which a microwave device is attached to an acupuncture needle to give microwave radiation at an acupuncture point.
  • microwave therapy
  • A type of treatment in which body tissue is exposed to high temperatures to damage and kill cancer cells or to make cancer cells more sensitive to the effects of radiation and certain anticancer drugs. Also called microwave thermotherapy.
  • microwave thermotherapy
  • A type of treatment in which body tissue is exposed to high temperatures to damage and kill cancer cells or to make cancer cells more sensitive to the effects of radiation and certain anticancer drugs. Also called microwave therapy.
  • midazolam
  • A drug used to treat anxiety and tension and to relax muscles. It is also being studied in the treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by some cancer treatments. It is a type of benzodiazepine. Also called midazolam hydrochloride and Versed.
  • midazolam hydrochloride
  • A drug used to treat anxiety and tension and to relax muscles. It is also being studied in the treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by some cancer treatments. It is a type of benzodiazepine. Also called midazolam and Versed.
  • midostaurin
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of leukemia. It belongs to the family of drugs called protein kinase inhibitors. Also called N-benzoyl-staurosporine and PKC412.
  • mifamurtide
  • A drug being studied in the treatment of young adults with bone cancer that has gotten worse or come back. Mifamurtide activates certain types of white blood cells and helps the immune system kill cancer cells. It is a type of immunostimulant. Also called L-MTP-PE, MEPACT, and muramyl tripeptide phosphatidylethanolamine.
  • Mifeprex
  • A drug used to end early pregnancies. It is also being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer and other conditions. Mifeprex blocks the action of progesterone, a hormone that helps some cancers grow. It is a type of antiprogesterone. Also called mifepristone and RU 486.
  • mifepristone
  • A drug used to end early pregnancies. It is also being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer and other conditions. Mifepristone blocks the action of progesterone, a hormone that helps some cancers grow. It is a type of antiprogesterone. Also called Mifeprex and RU 486.
  • milk duct
  • A thin tube in the breast that carries milk from the breast lobules to the nipple. Also called breast duct.
  • milk thistle
  • A plant that has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems, including stomach, liver, and gallbladder disorders. The active extract of milk thistle seeds is called silymarin. It is being studied in the prevention of liver damage caused by some cancer treatments. Also called Silybum marianum.
  • milligram
  • A measure of weight. A milligram is approximately 450,000 times smaller than a pound and 28,000 times smaller than an ounce.
  • milliliter
  • A measure of volume in the metric system. One thousand milliliters equal one liter. Also called cc, cubic centimeter, and ml.
  • millimeter
  • A measure of length in the metric system. A millimeter is one thousandth of a meter. There are 25 millimeters in an inch.
  • millimole
  • The amount of a substance equal to a thousandth of a mole (a measure of the amount of a substance). Also called mM.
  • mind/body exercise
  • A form of exercise that combines body movement with mental focus and controlled breathing to improve strength, balance, flexibility, and overall health. Examples of mind/body exercises are yoga, tai chi, and qigong.
  • mindfulness relaxation
  • A type of meditation based on the concept of being “mindful,” or having increased awareness, of the present. It uses breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.
  • mineral
  • In medicine, a mineral is a nutrient that is needed in small amounts to keep the body healthy. Mineral nutrients include the elements calcium, magnesium, and iron.
  • mineral oil
  • A type of oil that is made from petroleum (mixture of oily liquids found in the earth). Mineral oil is used in laxatives, lubricants, creams, and lotions.
  • minocycline-EDTA
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of bacterial infections from catheters (flexible tubes used to deliver fluids into or take fluids from the body). It combines a drug used to treat infections with a drug that prevents blood clots. It is a type of tetracycline antibiotic. Also called M-EDTA.
  • MIP test
  • A test that measures the strength of the muscles used in breathing. A person inhales and exhales through a device called a manometer, and the pressures are recorded by a computer. Also called maximum inspiratory pressure test.
  • Miraluma test
  • A type of breast imaging test that is used to detect cancer cells in the breasts of some women who have had abnormal mammograms, or who have dense breast tissue. It is not used for screening or in place of a mammogram. In this test, a woman receives an injection of a small amount of a radioactive substance called technetium 99, which is taken up by cancer cells, and a gamma camera is used to take pictures of the breasts. Also called scintimammography and sestamibi breast imaging.
  • mirtazapine
  • A drug used to treat depression. It belongs to the family of drugs called antidepressant agents. Also called Remeron.
  • misoprostol
  • A radioprotective agent that belongs to the family of drugs called prostaglandins.
  • missense mutation
  • A single base pair substitution that alters the genetic code in a way that produces an amino acid that is different from the normal amino acid at that position.
  • mistletoe
  • A semiparasitic plant that grows on some types of trees. Mistletoe extracts are being studied as treatments for cancer.
  • mistletoe lectin
  • A substance that comes from the mistletoe plant and that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. A lectin is a complex molecule that has both protein and sugars. Lectins are able to bind to the outside of a cell and cause biochemical changes in it. Lectins are made by both animals and plants.
  • Mithracin
  • A drug used to treat some types of testicular cancer. It is also used to treat a higher-than-normal amounts of calcium in the blood or urine. Mithracin binds to DNA and prevents cells from making RNA and proteins. It is a type of antineoplastic antibiotic. Also called mithramycin and plicamycin.
  • mithramycin
  • A drug used to treat some types of testicular cancer. It is also used to treat a higher-than-normal amounts of calcium in the blood or urine. Mithramycin binds to DNA and prevents cells from making RNA and proteins. It is a type of antineoplastic antibiotic. Also called Mithracin and plicamycin.
  • mitigate
  • To make milder or less painful.
  • mitochondria
  • Small structures in a cell that are found in the cytoplasm (fluid that surrounds the cell nucleus). Mitochondria make most of the energy for the cell and have their own genetic material that is different from the genetic material found in the nucleus. Many diseases are caused by mutations (changes) in the DNA of mitochondria. Mitochondria are cell organelles.
  • mitolactol
  • An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.
  • mitomycin
  • An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics.
  • mitosis
  • The process by which a single parent cell divides to make two new daughter cells. Each daughter cell receives a complete set of chromosomes from the parent cell. This process allows the body to grow and replace cells.
  • mitotane
  • An anticancer drug used in treating adrenocortical cancer and ACTH-producing pituitary tumors (Cushing disease).
  • mitotic activity
  • Having to do with the presence of dividing (proliferating) cells. Cancer tissue generally has more mitotic activity than normal tissues.
  • mitotic cycle
  • The process a cell goes through each time it divides. The mitotic cycle consists of a series of steps during which the chromosomes and other cell material double to make two copies. The cell then divides into two daughter cells, each receiving one copy of the doubled material. The mitotic cycle is complete when each daughter cell is surrounded by its own outer membrane. Also called cell cycle.
  • mitotic index
  • In a population of cells, the ratio of the number of cells undergoing mitosis (cell division) to the number of cells not undergoing mitosis.
  • mitotic inhibitor
  • A type of drug that blocks cell growth by stopping mitosis (cell division). They are used to treat cancer. Also called antimitotic agent.
  • mitoxantrone
  • A drug used to treat advanced prostate cancer that does not respond to hormones, adult acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, and advanced or chronic multiple sclerosis. It is also being studied in the treatment of other cancers. It belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics. Also called Novantrone.
  • mivobulin isethionate
  • An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called CI-980.
  • mixed glioma
  • A brain tumor that forms from more than one type of brain cell, usually astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.
  • MK-0646
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of many types of cancer. 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. MK-0646 is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called anti-IGF1R recombinant monoclonal antibody MK-0646.
  • MK0752
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It blocks signals between growing cells and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of signal transduction inhibitor.
  • MLN2704
  • A measure of volume in the metric system. One thousand mls equal one liter. Also called cc, cubic centimeter, and milliliter.
  • MLN518
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It may stop cancer cell growth by blocking certain enzymes. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called CT53518 and tandutinib.
  • MLN591DM1
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of prostate cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antibody drug conjugates. Also called MLN2704.
  • MMMT
  • A rare type of tumor that is a mixture of carcinoma and sarcoma cells. MMMT usually occurs in the uterus. Also called malignant mixed Müllerian tumor.
  • mocetinostat
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. It blocks enzymes needed for cell division and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. Also called MGCD0103.
  • modafinil
  • A drug that is being studied as a treatment for fatigue in patients with cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called stimulants.
  • modality
  • A method of treatment. For example, surgery and chemotherapy are treatment modalities.
  • mode of inheritance
  • The manner in which a genetic trait or disorder is passed from one generation to the next. Autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, X-linked dominant, X-linked recessive, multifactorial, and mitochondrial inheritance are examples. Each mode of inheritance results in a characteristic pattern of affected and unaffected family members.
  • modified radical mastectomy
  • Surgery for breast cancer in which the breast, most or all of the lymph nodes under the arm, and the lining over the chest muscles are removed. Sometimes the surgeon also removes part of the chest wall muscles.
  • modified radical vulvectomy
  • Surgery to remove most, but not all, of the vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips, and the opening to the vagina). The clitoris may not be removed. Sometimes lymph nodes in the groin area are also removed. Also called partial radical vulvectomy.
  • modulate
  • To adjust, or change.
  • Mohs micrographic surgery
  • A surgical procedure used to treat skin cancer. Individual layers of cancer tissue are removed and examined under a microscope one at a time until all cancer tissue has been removed. Also called Mohs surgery.
  • Mohs surgery
  • A surgical procedure used to treat skin cancer. Individual layers of cancer tissue are removed and examined under a microscope one at a time until all cancer tissue has been removed. Also called Mohs micrographic surgery.
  • molar pregnancy
  • A slow-growing tumor that develops from trophoblastic cells (cells that help an embryo attach to the uterus and help form the placenta) after fertilization of an egg by a sperm. A molar pregnancy contains many cysts (sacs of fluid). It is usually benign (not cancer) but it may spread to nearby tissues (invasive mole). It may also become a malignant tumor called choriocarcinoma. Molar pregnancy is the most common type of gestational trophoblastic tumor. Also called hydatidiform mole.
  • mold
  • A form of fungus. Some molds can cause disease in humans.
  • mole (chemical)
  • In chemistry, a mole is the amount of a substance that has 6.023 x 10(23) atoms or molecules of that substance. Also called M.
  • molecular diagnosis
  • The process of identifying a disease by studying molecules, such as proteins, DNA, and RNA, in a tissue or fluid.
  • molecular marker
  • A biological molecule found in blood, other body fluids, or tissues that is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or of a condition or disease. A molecular marker may be used to see how well the body responds to a treatment for a disease or condition. Also called biomarker and signature molecule.
  • molecular mass
  • A benign (not cancer) growth on the skin that is formed by a cluster of melanocytes (cells that make a substance called melanin, which gives color to skin and eyes). A mole is usually dark and may be raised from the skin. Also called nevus.
  • molecular medicine
  • A branch of medicine that develops ways to diagnose and treat disease by understanding the way genes, proteins, and other cellular molecules work. Molecular medicine is based on research that shows how certain genes, molecules, and cellular functions may become abnormal in diseases such as cancer.
  • molecular pathway
  • A series of actions among molecules in a cell that leads to a certain end point or cell function.
  • molecular risk assessment
  • A procedure in which biomarkers (for example, biological molecules or changes in tumor cell DNA) are used to estimate a person’s risk for developing cancer. Specific biomarkers may be linked to particular types of cancer.
  • molecularly targeted therapy
  • In cancer treatment, substances that kill cancer cells by targeting key molecules involved in cancer cell growth.
  • molecule
  • The smallest particle of a substance that has all of the physical and chemical properties of that substance. Molecules are made up of one or more atoms. If they contain more than one atom, the atoms can be the same (an oxygen molecule has two oxygen atoms) or different (a water molecule has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom). Biological molecules, such as proteins and DNA, can be made up of many thousands of atoms.
  • mometasone furoate
  • A drug that is used in a cream to treat certain skin conditions and in a nasal spray to treat sinus problems caused by allergies. It is being studied as a way to treat inflammation of the skin caused by radiation therapy. Mometasone is a type of corticosteroid. Also called Elocon, mometasone furoate, and Nasonex.
  • monitor
  • In medicine, to regularly watch and check a person or condition to see if there is any change. Also refers to a device that records and/or displays patient data, such as for an electrocardiogram (EKG).
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitor
  • A type of drug used to treat depression. It stops the breakdown of certain chemicals in the brain that help improve a person’s mood. A monoamine oxidase inhibitor is a type of antidepressant. Also called MAO inhibitor.
  • monoclonal antibody
  • A type of protein made in the laboratory that can locate and bind to substances in the body, including tumor cells. There are many kinds of monoclonal antibodies. Each monoclonal antibody is made to find one substance. Monoclonal antibodies are being used to treat some types of cancer and are being studied in the treatment of other types. They can be used alone or to carry drugs, toxins, or radioactive materials directly to a tumor.
  • monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis
  • A condition in which a higher-than-normal number of identical B cells are found in the blood. People with monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis may develop other B-cell diseases, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Also called MBL.
  • monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance
  • A benign condition in which there is a higher-than-normal level of a protein called M protein in the blood. Patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance are at an increased risk of developing cancer. Also called MGUS.
  • monoclonal protein
  • An antibody found in unusually large amounts in the blood or urine of people with multiple myeloma and other types of plasma cell tumors. Also called M protein.
  • monocyte
  • A type of immune cell that is made in the bone marrow and travels through the blood to tissues in the body where it becomes a macrophage. Macrophages surround and kill microorganisms, ingest foreign material, remove dead cells, and boost immune responses. A monocyte is a type of white blood cell and a type of phagocyte.
  • monomer
  • A molecule that can join with other identical monomers to form a larger structure called a polymer.
  • Montanide ISA-51
  • A mixture of oil and water that is combined with a specific antigen to boost the immune response to that antigen. It is being studied in immunotherapy and as a way to increase the immune response to cancer vaccines. It is a type of immune modulator. Also called IFA and incomplete Freund's adjuvant.
  • montelukast sodium
  • The active ingredient in a drug used to treat symptoms of asthma, such as trouble breathing, tight chest, wheezing, coughing, and runny nose. Montelukast blocks the action of a substance that causes airways in the lungs to narrow and causes other symptoms of asthma. It is a type of leukotriene receptor antagonist and a type of antiasthmatic agent.
  • MOPP
  • An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used alone or together with radiation therapy to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs mechlorethamine, vincristine (Oncovin), procarbazine, and prednisone. Also called MOPP regimen.
  • MOPP regimen
  • An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used alone or together with radiation therapy to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs mechlorethamine, vincristine (Oncovin), procarbazine, and prednisone. Also called MOPP.
  • 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. MORAb-009 binds to mesothelin (a protein that is made by some cancer cells) and stops the cells from dividing. Also called anti-mesothelin monoclonal antibody MORAb-009.
  • moral
  • Having to do with beliefs about what is right and wrong in terms of how people behave. Also called ethical.
  • morbidity
  • A disease or the incidence of disease within a population. Morbidity also refers to adverse effects caused by a treatment.
  • Morinda citrifolia
  • A tropical shrub. An extract from the fruit is being studied as a treatment for cancer, and extracts from the fruit, leaves, or roots have been used in some cultures to treat other diseases. Also called noni.
  • morphine sulfate
  • A drug used to treat moderate to severe pain. It binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system and some other tissues. Morphine sulfate is made from opium. It is a type of opiate and a type of analgesic agent.
  • morphology
  • The science of the form and structure of organisms (plants, animals, and other forms of life).
  • mortality
  • The state of being mortal (destined to die). Mortality also refers to the death rate, or the number of deaths in a certain group of people in a certain period of time. Mortality may be reported for people who have a certain disease, live in one area of the country, or who are of a certain gender, age, or ethnic group.
  • mosaicism
  • The occurrence of 2 or more cell lines with different genetic or chromosomal make-up, within a single individual or tissue.
  • motexafin gadolinium
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It may make tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy, improve tumor images using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and kill cancer cells. It is a type of metalloporphyrin complex. Also called gadolinium texaphyrin.
  • motexafin lutetium
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer using photodynamic therapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called metallotexaphyrins. Also called lutetium texaphyrin.
  • motor
  • In medicine, having to do with the movement of body parts.
  • Motrin
  • 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 Advil and ibuprofen.
  • mouse model
  • The use of special strains of mice to study a human disease or condition, and how to prevent and treat it.
  • moxibustion
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, a type of heat therapy in which an herb is burned on or above the skin to warm and stimulate an acupuncture point or affected area.
  • moxifloxacin
  • A drug used to treat bacterial infections. It is a type of fluoroquinolone. Also called Avelox and moxifloxacin hydrochloride.
  • moxifloxacin hydrochloride
  • A drug used to treat bacterial infections. It is a type of fluoroquinolone. Also called Avelox and moxifloxacin.
  • Mozobil
  • A drug used before autologous stem cell transplantation in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma or multiple myeloma. Mozobil is given together with granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) to help move stem cells from the bone marrow to the blood. The stem cells can then be collected, stored, and given back to the patient. Mozobil is a type of chemokine receptor antagonist. Also called AMD 3100 and plerixafor.
  • MP470
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. It blocks the action of certain enzymes involved in cell growth and the repair of DNA damaged by some anticancer drugs. It is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of recombinase inhibitor.
  • MPNST
  • A type of soft tissue sarcoma that develops in cells that form a protective sheath (covering) around peripheral nerves, which are nerves that are outside of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Also called malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor.
  • MRI
  • A procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer is used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue. MRI makes better images of organs and soft tissue than other scanning techniques, such as computed tomography (CT) or x-ray. MRI is especially useful for imaging the brain, the spine, the soft tissue of joints, and the inside of bones. Also called magnetic resonance imaging, NMRI, and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging.
  • MRSI
  • A noninvasive imaging method that provides information about cellular activity (metabolic information). It is used along with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which provides information about the shape and size of the tumor (spatial information). Also called 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging.
  • MS 209
  • A substance that is being studied for its ability to make cancer cells respond better to chemotherapy drugs to which they have become resistant. It is a type of quinolone antibiotic.
  • MS-275
  • A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancers of the blood. It belongs to the family of drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors.
  • MSI
  • A change that occurs in the DNA of certain cells (such as tumor cells) in which the number of repeats of microsatellites (short, repeated sequences of DNA) is different than the number of repeats that was in the DNA when it was inherited. The cause of MSI may be a defect in the ability to repair mistakes made when DNA is copied in the cell. Also called microsatellite instability.
  • MTD
  • The highest dose of a drug or treatment that does not cause unacceptable side effects. The MTD is determined in clinical trials by testing increasing doses on different groups of people until the highest dose with acceptable side effects is found. Also called maximum tolerated dose.
  • mTOR
  • A protein that helps control several cell functions, including cell division and survival, and binds to rapamycin and other drugs. mTOR may be more active in some types of cancer cells than it is in normal cells. Blocking mTOR may cause the cancer cells to die. It is a type of serine/threonine protein kinase. Also called mammalian target of rapamycin.
  • MTX
  • A drug used to treat some types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and severe skin conditions, such as psoriasis. MTX stops cells from making DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimetabolite. Also called amethopterin, methotrexate, and Rheumatrex.
  • MUC-1
  • A substance found on certain epithelial cells (cells that cover organs, glands, and other body surfaces) and on breast cells involved in making milk. It is also found on tumors of the breast, ovary, lung, and prostate. MUC-1 is a type of tumor marker.
  • mucin/peptide
  • A protein/sugar compound made by some cancer cells.
  • mucinous carcinoma
  • Containing or resembling mucin, the main compound in mucus.
  • mucosa
  • The moist, inner lining of some organs and body cavities (such as the nose, mouth, lungs, and stomach). Glands in the mucosa make mucus (a thick, slippery fluid). Also called mucous membrane.
  • mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma
  • A type of cancer that arises in cells in mucosal tissue that are involved in antibody production. Also called MALT lymphoma.
  • mucositis
  • A complication of some cancer therapies in which the lining of the digestive system becomes inflamed. Often seen as sores in the mouth.
  • mucous membrane
  • The moist, inner lining of some organs and body cavities (such as the nose, mouth, lungs, and stomach). Glands in the mucous membrane make mucus (a thick, slippery fluid). Also called mucosa.
  • mucus
  • A thick, slippery fluid made by the membranes that line certain organs of the body, including the nose, mouth, throat, and vagina.
  • mucus colitis
  • A disorder of the intestines commonly marked by abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in a person’s bowel habits. This may include diarrhea or constipation, or both, with one occurring after the other. Also called IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, irritable colon, and spastic colon.
  • muJ591
  • 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.
  • Mullerian tumor
  • A rare cancer of the uterus, ovary, or fallopian tubes.
  • multicenter study
  • A clinical trial that is carried out at more than one medical institution.
  • multicentric breast cancer
  • Breast cancer in which there is more than one tumor, all of which have formed separately from one another. The tumors are likely to be in different quadrants (sections) of the breast. Multicentric breast cancers are rare.
  • multidisciplinary opinion
  • In medicine, a term used to describe a treatment planning approach or team that includes a number of doctors and other health care professionals who are experts in different specialties (disciplines). In cancer treatment, the primary disciplines are medical oncology (treatment with drugs), surgical oncology (treatment with surgery), and radiation oncology (treatment with radiation).
  • multidrug resistance
  • Adaptation of tumor cells to anticancer drugs in ways that make the drugs less effective.
  • multidrug resistance inhibition
  • Treatment used to make cancer cells less resistant to anticancer drugs.
  • multifocal breast cancer
  • Breast cancer in which there is more than one tumor, all of which have arisen from one original tumor. The tumors are likely to be in the same quadrant (section) of the breast.
  • MultiHance
  • A drug used in MRI to help make clear pictures of blood vessels in the brain, spine, and nearby tissues. It is also being studied as a way to find abnormal areas in the liver and other organs and to help diagnose cancer. MultiHance is a type of contrast agent. Also called gadobenate dimeglumine.
  • multimodality treatment
  • Therapy that combines more than one method of treatment.
  • multiple endocrine adenomatosis
  • A rare, inherited disorder that affects the endocrine glands and can cause tumors in the parathyroid and pituitary glands and the pancreas. These tumors are usually benign (not cancer). They cause the glands to secrete high levels of hormones, which can lead to other medical problems, such as kidney stones, fertility problems, and severe ulcers. In some cases, tumors inside the pancreas can become malignant (cancer). Also called MEN1 syndrome, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 syndrome, and Wermer syndrome.
  • multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome
  • An inherited condition that may result in the development of cancers of the endocrine system. There are several types of multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome, and patients with each type may develop different types of cancer. The altered genes that cause each type can be detected with a blood test. Also called MEN syndrome.
  • multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 syndrome
  • A rare, inherited disorder that affects the endocrine glands and can cause tumors in the parathyroid and pituitary glands and the pancreas. These tumors are usually benign (not cancer). They cause the glands to secrete high levels of hormones, which can lead to other medical problems, such as kidney stones, fertility problems, and severe ulcers. In some cases, tumors inside the pancreas can become malignant (cancer). Also called MEN1 syndrome, multiple endocrine adenomatosis, and Wermer syndrome.
  • multiple hamartoma syndrome
  • An inherited disorder marked by the formation of many noncancerous growths called hamartomas. These growths occur in the skin, breast, thyroid, colon, intestines, and inside of the mouth. Patients with multiple hamartoma syndrome are at increased risk of certain types of cancer, including breast and thyroid. Also called Cowden disease and Cowden syndrome.
  • multiple myeloma
  • A type of cancer that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). Also called Kahler disease, myelomatosis, and plasma cell myeloma.
  • multiple sclerosis
  • A disorder of the central nervous system marked by weakness, numbness, a loss of muscle coordination, and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control. Multiple sclerosis is thought to be an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system destroys myelin. Myelin is a substance that contains both protein and fat (lipid), serving as a nerve insulator and helping in the transmission of nerve signals.
  • multiplicity
  • A large number or variety.
  • multitargeted receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor ABT-869
  • A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. Multitargeted receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor 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 ABT-869.
  • mung bean
  • A type of bean grown in warm climates, usually for its seed and for bean sprouts. Mung bean may have anticancer effects.
  • muramyl tripeptide phosphatidylethanolamine
  • A drug being studied in the treatment of young adults with bone cancer that has gotten worse or come back. Muramyl tripeptide phosphatidylethanolamine activates certain types of white blood cells and helps the immune system kill cancer cells. It is a type of immunostimulant. Also called L-MTP-PE, MEPACT, and mifamurtide.
  • muromonab-CD3
  • 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.
  • muscle wasting
  • A weakening, shrinking, and loss of muscle caused by disease or lack of use. Muscle wasting decreases strength and the ability to move.
  • musculoskeletal
  • Having to do with muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, joints, and cartilage.
  • music therapy
  • Treatment that uses music to help relieve pain or stress and promote well-being. It is being studied in the treatment of several cancer-related problems and other conditions.
  • Mustargen
  • A drug used to treat some types of cancer and some skin conditions that may become cancer. It attaches to the cell's DNA and may kill cancer cells. Mustargen is a type of alkylating agent. Also called mechlorethamine hydrochloride and mustine.
  • mustine
  • A drug used to treat some types of cancer and some skin conditions that may become cancer. It attaches to the cell's DNA and may kill cancer cells. Mustine is a type of alkylating agent. Also called mechlorethamine hydrochloride and Mustargen.
  • mutagen
  • Anything that causes a mutation (a change in the DNA of a cell). DNA changes caused by mutagens may harm cells and cause certain diseases, such as cancer. Examples of mutagens include radioactive substances, x-rays, ultraviolet radiation, and certain chemicals.
  • mutate
  • To change the genetic material of a cell. The changes (mutations) can be harmful, beneficial, or have no effect.
  • mutation analysis
  • Any change in the DNA of a cell. Mutations may be caused by mistakes during cell division, or they may be caused by exposure to DNA-damaging agents in the environment. Mutations can be harmful, beneficial, or have no effect. If they occur in cells that make eggs or sperm, they can be inherited; if mutations occur in other types of cells, they are not inherited. Certain mutations may lead to cancer or other diseases.
  • myalgia
  • Pain in a muscle or group of muscles.
  • myasthenia gravis
  • A disease in which antibodies made by a person’s immune system prevent certain nerve-muscle interactions. It causes weakness in the arms and legs, vision problems, and drooping eyelids or head. It may also cause paralysis and problems with swallowing, talking, climbing stairs, lifting things, and getting up from a sitting position. The muscle weakness gets worse during activity, and improves after periods of rest.
  • mycophenolate mofetil
  • A drug used to prevent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after organ transplants. It is also being studied in the prevention of GVHD after stem cell transplants for cancer, and in the treatment of some autoimmune disorders. Mycophenolate mofetil is a type of immunosuppressive agent. Also called CellCept.
  • mycosis fungoides plaque
  • A type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that first appears on the skin and can spread to the lymph nodes or other organs such as the spleen, liver, or lungs.
  • Mycostatin
  • A drug used to treat infections caused by fungi (a type of microorganism). It is made by certain strains of bacteria and kills fungi by binding to their membranes. Mycostatin is a type of antifungal agent.
  • myelin
  • The fatty substance that covers and protects nerves.
  • myeloablation
  • A severe form of myelosuppression. Myelosuppression is a condition in which bone marrow activity is decreased, resulting in fewer red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. It is a side effect of some cancer treatments. Also called severe myelosuppression.
  • myeloablative chemotherapy
  • High-dose chemotherapy that kills cells in the bone marrow, including cancer cells. It lowers the number of normal blood-forming cells in the bone marrow, and can cause severe side effects. Myeloablative chemotherapy is usually followed by a bone marrow or stem cell transplant to rebuild the bone marrow.
  • myeloblastic
  • Refers to myeloblasts (a type of immature cell that forms in the bone marrow).
  • myelodysplasia
  • Abnormal bone marrow cells that may lead to myelogenous leukemia.
  • myelodysplastic syndromes
  • A group of diseases in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells. Also called preleukemia and smoldering leukemia.
  • myelofibrosis
  • A disorder in which the bone marrow is replaced by fibrous tissue.
  • myelogenous
  • Having to do with, produced by, or resembling the bone marrow. Sometimes used as a synonym for myeloid; for example, acute myeloid leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia are the same disease.
  • myelogram
  • An x-ray of the spinal cord after an injection of dye into the space between the lining of the spinal cord and brain.
  • myeloid
  • Having to do with or resembling the bone marrow. May also refer to certain types of hematopoietic (blood-forming) cells found in the bone marrow. Sometimes used as a synonym for myelogenous; for example, acute myeloid leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia are the same disease.
  • myelomatosis
  • Cancer that arises in plasma cells, a type of white blood cell.
  • myelomonocyte
  • An abnormal type of white blood cell that is found in chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. These cells are similar to both monocytes and myelocytes (immature cells that develop into different types of immune system cells).
  • myeloproliferative disorder
  • A group of slow growing blood cancers, including chronic myelogenous leukemia, in which large numbers of abnormal red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets grow and spread in the bone marrow and the peripheral blood.
  • myelosclerosis with 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 agnogenic myeloid metaplasia, chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis, idiopathic myelofibrosis, and primary myelofibrosis.
  • myelosuppression
  • A condition in which bone marrow activity is decreased, resulting in fewer red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Myelosuppression is a side effect of some cancer treatments. When myelosuppression is severe, it is called myeloablation.
  • myelosuppressive therapy
  • Treatment that inhibits blood cell production.
  • Mylosar
  • 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 azacitidine and Vidaza.
  • Mylotarg
  • A monoclonal antibody combined with a toxic substance that is used to treat certain types of acute myeloid leukemia in older patients and is 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. Mylotarg is a type of antibody-drug conjugate. Also called gemtuzumab and gemtuzumab ozogamicin.
  • myoclonic jerk
  • A sudden, brief, strong contraction of a muscle or group of muscles that cannot be controlled.
  • myoinositol
  • A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Myoinositol helps cells make membranes and respond to messages from their environment. It has the same chemical formula as glucose (the chief source of energy for living organisms) but has a different arrangement of atoms. It is found in beans, peas, brown rice, wheat bran and nuts. It is water-soluble (can dissolve in water) and must be taken in every day. Myoinositol is being studied in the prevention of cancer. Also called inositol.
  • myometrium
  • The muscular outer layer of the uterus.
  • myristyl nicotinate cream
  • A substance being studied in the prevention of skin cancer. Myristyl nicotinate cream is also being studied as a way to help lessen the side effects of retinoic acid (a form of vitamin A) when it is used to treat skin that has been damaged by the sun. Myristyl nicotinate cream contains a form of niacin (a member of the vitamin B complex). It is a type of chemopreventive agent.
  • MZL
  • An indolent (slow-growing) type of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma that begins forming in certain areas (the marginal zones) of lymph tissue. There are three types based on whether it forms in the spleen, lymph nodes, or other lymphoid tissue that contains a lot of B cells (a type of white blood cell). Also called marginal zone B-cell lymphoma and marginal zone lymphoma.
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