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Glossary of Terms

A33

A type of monoclonal antibody used in cancer detection or therapy. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells.

A6

A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. A6 is a small piece of a protein called urokinase (an enzyme that dissolves blood clots or prevents them from forming). It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent and a type of antimetastatic agent. Also called urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA)-derived peptide A6.

AAP

An enzyme that is normally found in healthy kidneys. It may be found at high levels in the urine when there are kidney problems. It is used as a biomarker to detect damage to the kidneys caused by drugs and other agents. It may also be used to diagnose certain kidney and liver disorders. Also called alanine aminopeptidase.

abarelix

A drug used to reduce the amount of testosterone made in patients with advanced symptomatic prostate cancer for which no other treatment options are available. It belongs to the family of drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists. Also called Plenaxis.

ABCA1 pathway

Describes a group of proteins in a cell that work together to help remove extra cholesterol and certain fats from tissue in the body. Changes in the ABCA1 pathway may lead to diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Drugs or substances that affect this pathway are being studied in the prevention and treatment of some diseases.

ABCD rating

A staging system for prostate cancer that uses ABCD.

abdomen

The area of the body that contains the pancreas, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, and other organs.

abdominal

Having to do with the abdomen, which is the part of the body between the chest and the hips that contains the pancreas, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, and other organs.

abdominal ultrasound

A procedure used to examine the organs in the abdomen. An ultrasound transducer (probe) is pressed firmly against the skin of the abdomen. High-energy sound waves from the transducer bounce off tissues and create echoes. The echoes are sent to a computer, which makes a picture called a sonogram. Also called transabdominal ultrasound.

abdominal x-ray

An x-ray of the organs inside the abdomen. An x-ray is a type of radiation that can pass through the body and onto film, making pictures of areas inside the body. X-rays may be used to help diagnose disease.

abdominoperineal resection

Surgery to remove the anus, the rectum, and part of the sigmoid colon through an incision made in the abdomen. The end of the intestine is attached to an opening in the surface of the abdomen and body waste is collected in a disposable bag outside of the body. This opening is called a colostomy. Lymph nodes that contain cancer may also be removed during this operation.

Abegrin

A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer and other conditions. Abegrin binds to a protein on the surface of blood vessels and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It may also prevent the spread of cancer. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent, a type of metastasis inhibitor, and a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called etaracizumab, humanized monoclonal antibody MEDI-522, and MEDI-522.

aberrant crypt foci

Clusters of abnormal tube-like glands in the lining of the colon and rectum. Aberrant crypt foci form before colorectal polyps and are one of the earliest changes that can be seen in the colon that may lead to cancer. Also called ACF.

ABI-007

A drug used to treat breast cancer that has come back or spread to other parts of the body. It is also used with carboplatin to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer in patients who are not able to have surgery or radiation therapy. It is also used with gemcitabine hydrochloride to treat pancreatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. ABI-007 is a form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel and may cause fewer side effects than paclitaxel. It stops cancer cells from growing and dividing, and may kill them. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called Abraxane, nanoparticle paclitaxel, paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation, and protein-bound paclitaxel.

abiraterone acetate

A drug used with prednisone to treat prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and has not gotten better with other hormone therapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Abiraterone acetate lowers the amount of androgens (male hormones), such as testosterone, made by the body. This may stop the growth of cancer cells that need androgens to grow. Abiraterone acetate is a type of antiandrogen. Also called Zytiga.

ablation

In medicine, the removal or destruction of a body part or tissue or its function. Ablation may be performed by surgery, hormones, drugs, radiofrequency, heat, or other methods.

abnormal

Not normal. Describes a state, condition, or behavior that is unusual or different from what is considered normal. An abnormal lesion or growth in or on the body may be benign (not cancer), precancerous or premalignant (likely to become cancer), or malignant (cancer).

ABO blood group system

A system used to group human blood into different types, based on the presence or absence of certain markers on the surface of red blood cells. The four main blood types are A, B, O, and AB. For a blood transfusion, the ABO blood group system is used to match the blood type of the donor and the person receiving the transfusion. People with blood type O can donate blood to anyone and are called universal donors. People with blood type AB can accept blood from all donors and are called universal recipients. People with type A or B can receive matching blood or type O blood.

ABR test

A test used to detect some types of hearing loss, such as hearing loss caused by injury or tumors that affect nerves involved in hearing. Electrodes are placed on the head and certain tones or clicking sounds are made. The electrodes measure nerve signals in the brain when it reacts to the sounds. Also called auditory brain stem response test, BAER test, and brain stem auditory evoked response test.

Abraxane

A drug used to treat breast cancer that has come back or spread to other parts of the body. It is also used with carboplatin to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer in patients who are not able to have surgery or radiation therapy. It is also used with gemcitabine hydrochloride to treat pancreatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Abraxane is a form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel and may cause fewer side effects than paclitaxel. It stops cancer cells from growing and dividing, and may kill them. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called ABI-007, nanoparticle paclitaxel, paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation, and protein-bound paclitaxel.

abscess

An enclosed collection of pus in tissues, organs, or confined spaces in the body. An abscess is a sign of infection and is usually swollen and inflamed.

absolute neutrophil count

A measure of the number of neutrophils in the blood. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell. They help the body fight infection. An absolute neutrophil count may be used to check for infection, inflammation, leukemia, and other conditions. Cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, may reduce the absolute neutrophil count. Also called ANC.

absolute risk

A measure of the risk of a certain event happening. In cancer research, it is the likelihood that a person who is free of a specific type of cancer at a given age will develop that cancer over a certain period of time. For example, a woman 35 years of age, with no known risk factors for breast cancer, has an absolute risk of getting breast cancer over a lifetime of 90 years of about 13.5%, meaning one out of every seven women will develop breast cancer.

absorption

The process of taking nutrients from the digestive system into the blood so they can be used in the body.

ABT-263

A substance being studied in the treatment of lymphomas and other types of cancer. It blocks some of the enzymes that keep cancer cells from dying. It is a type of Bcl-2 family inhibitor. Also called navitoclax.

ABT-510

A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of angiogenesis inhibitor.

ABT-751

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called sulfonamides.

ABT-869

A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. ABT-869 blocks the action of several growth factors. It may also block the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow and may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of angiogensis inhibitor. Also called multitargeted receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor ABT-869.

ABT-888

A substance being studied in the treatment of breast cancers caused by mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks an enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. ABT-888 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called PARP-1 inhibitor ABT-888 and veliparib.

ABVD

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), bleomycin sulfate, vinblastine sulfate, and dacarbazine. Also called ABVD regimen.

ABVD regimen

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), bleomycin sulfate, vinblastine sulfate, and dacarbazine. Also called ABVD.

ABVE

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used with radiation therapy to treat childhood Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), bleomycin sulfate, vincristine sulfate, and etoposide. Also called ABVE regimen, DBVE, and DBVE regimen.

ABVE regimen

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used with radiation therapy to treat childhood Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), bleomycin sulfate, vincristine sulfate, and etoposide. Also called ABVE, DBVE, and DBVE regimen.

ABVE-PC

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used with radiation therapy to treat childhood Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), bleomycin sulfate, vincristine sulfate, etoposide, prednisone, and cyclophosphamide. Also called ABVE-PC regimen, DBVE-PC, and DBVE-PC regimen.

ABVE-PC regimen

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used with radiation therapy to treat childhood Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), bleomycin sulfate, vincristine sulfate, etoposide, prednisone, and cyclophosphamide. Also called ABVE-PC, DBVE-PC, and DBVE-PC regimen.

ABX-EGF

A human monoclonal antibody that is being used to treat colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients whose disease has not gotten better during or after treatment with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. ABX-EGF binds to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and may block tumor cell growth. Also called panitumumab and Vectibix.

AC

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used with other types of therapy to treat breast cancer, including breast cancer that has spread or come back. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide. Also called AC regimen.

AC regimen

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used with other types of therapy to treat breast cancer, including breast cancer that has spread or come back. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide. Also called AC.

AC-T

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat breast cancer. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol). Also called AC-T regimen and AC-Taxol regimen.

AC-T regimen

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat breast cancer. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol). Also called AC-T and AC-Taxol regimen.

AC-T-T

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat breast cancer. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol) and trastuzumab (Herceptin). Also called AC-T-T regimen, AC-TH regimen, and sequential AC/Taxol-Trastuzumab regimen.

AC-T-T regimen

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat breast cancer. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol) and trastuzumab (Herceptin). Also called AC-T-T, AC-TH regimen, and sequential AC/Taxol-Trastuzumab regimen.

AC-Taxol regimen

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat breast cancer. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol). Also called AC-T and AC-T regimen.

AC-TH regimen

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat breast cancer. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide, followed by treatment with paclitaxel (Taxol) and trastuzumab (Herceptin). Also called AC-T-T, AC-T-T regimen, and sequential AC/Taxol-Trastuzumab regimen.

ACAPHA

A mixture of six herbs that has been used in China to prevent and treat diseases such as lung and esophageal cancers. It is being studied in the United States and Canada in the prevention of lung cancer in people who used to smoke.

accelerated partial-breast irradiation

A type of radiation therapy given only to the part of the breast that has cancer in it. Accelerated partial-breast irradiation gives a higher dose over a shorter time than is given in standard whole-breast radiation therapy. Accelerated partial-breast irradiation may be given using internal or external sources of radiation. Also called partial-breast irradiation.

accelerated phase chronic myelogenous leukemia

A phase of chronic myelogenous leukemia in which the disease is progressing. In this phase, 10% to 19% of the cells in the blood and bone marrow are blast cells (immature blood cells).

accelerated radiation therapy

Radiation treatment in which the total dose of radiation is given over a shorter period of time (fewer days) compared to standard radiation therapy.

accelerated-fraction radiation therapy

Radiation treatment in which the total dose of radiation is divided into small doses and the treatments are given more than once a day. The total dose of radiation is also given over a shorter period of time (fewer days) compared to standard radiation therapy.

Accolate

A drug used to prevent and treat symptoms of asthma. It blocks substances that cause inflammation in the lungs. It is a type of antiasthmatic agent and a leukotriene receptor antagonist. Also called zafirlukast.

ACE inhibitor

A drug that is used to lower blood pressure. An ACE inhibitor is a type of antihypertensive agent. Also called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor.

acetaminophen

A drug that reduces pain and fever (but not inflammation). It belongs to the family of drugs called analgesics.

acetate

A form of acetic acid (an acid found in vinegar).

acetic acid

An acid found in vinegar. Acetic acid is also used to dissolve substances needed to make some medicines and other products, such as plastics.

acetone

A chemical substance found naturally in small amounts in plants, trees, volcanoes, and forest fires. Acetone is also made by the body when fats are broken down. It is also found in tobacco smoke, car exhaust, and trash landfills. In industry, acetone is used in some plastics, fibers, medicines, household cleaners, glues, and nail polish removers. Being exposed to high levels of acetone may irritate the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, loss of consciousness, and other health problems.

acetyl group

A small molecule made of two carbon, three hydrogen, and one oxygen atoms. Acetyl groups are added to or removed from other molecules and may affect how the molecules act in the body.

acetyl-L-carnitine

A form of the natural substance carnitine that is being studied as a way to prevent tissue damage caused by chemotherapy. Carnitine is made in muscle and liver tissue and is found in certain foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, and some dairy products. It is used by many cells in the body to make energy from fat. Also called acetyl-L-carnitine hydrochloride and ALCAR.

acetyl-L-carnitine hydrochloride

A form of the natural substance carnitine that is being studied as a way to prevent tissue damage caused by chemotherapy. Carnitine is made in muscle and liver tissue and is found in certain foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, and some dairy products. It is used by many cells in the body to make energy from fat. Also called acetyl-L-carnitine and ALCAR.

acetylation

A chemical reaction in which a small molecule called an acetyl group is added to other molecules. Acetylation of proteins may affect how they act in the body.

acetylcholine

A chemical made by some types of nerve cells. It is used to send messages to other cells, including other nerve cells, muscle cells, and gland cells. It is released from the nerve ending and carries signals to cells on the other side of a synapse (space between nerve cells and other cells). Acetylcholine helps control memory and the action of certain muscles. It is a type of neurotransmitter.

acetylcysteine

A drug usually used to reduce the thickness of mucus and ease its removal. It is also used to reverse the toxicity of high doses of acetaminophen. Also called N-acetyl-L-cysteine and N-acetylcysteine.

ACF

Clusters of abnormal tube-like glands in the lining of the colon and rectum. ACF form before colorectal polyps and are one of the earliest changes that can be seen in the colon that may lead to cancer. Also called aberrant crypt foci.

achlorhydria

A lack of hydrochloric acid in the digestive juices in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid helps digest food.

acid

A chemical that gives off hydrogen ions in water and forms salts by combining with certain metals. Acids have a sour taste and turn certain dyes red. Some acids made by the body, such as gastric acid, can help organs work the way they should. An example of an acid is hydrochloric acid. Acidity is measured on a scale called the pH scale. On this scale, a value of 7 is neutral, and a pH value of less than 7 to 0 shows increasing acidity.

acid-base balance

In medicine, the state of having the right amount of acid and base in the blood and other body fluids. Keeping a normal acid-base balance is important for the body to work the way it should. Also called acid-base equilibrium.

acid-base equilibrium

In medicine, the state of having the right amount of acid and base in the blood and other body fluids. Keeping a normal acid-base equilibrium is important for the body to work the way it should. Also called acid-base balance.

acidification

The process of making or becoming an acid. An acid is a substance that gives off hydrogen ions in water and forms salts by combining with certain metals.

acidity

Describes the amount of acid in a substance. An acid is a chemical that gives off hydrogen ions in water and forms salts by combining with certain metals. Acidity is measured on a scale called the pH scale. On this scale, a pH value of 7 is neutral, and a pH value of less than 7 to 0 shows increasing acidity.

acitretin

A substance that is used in the prevention of cancer and in the treatment of psoriasis. It belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids.

ACN53

A substance that has been studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. ACN53 is a weakened adenovirus that carries the p53 gene into tumor cells, causing them to die. It is a type of gene therapy. Also called rAd/p53, recombinant adenovirus-p53, and SCH-58500.

acne

A disorder of the skin in which oil glands and hair glands become inflamed.

acolbifene hydrochloride

A substance being studied in the prevention of breast cancer in women at high risk of breast cancer. Acolbifene hydrochloride binds to estrogen receptors in the body and blocks the effects of estrogen in the breast. It is a type of selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM).

acoustic

Having to do with sound or hearing.

acoustic neurofibromatosis

A genetic condition in which tumors form on the nerves of the inner ear and cause loss of hearing and balance. Tumors may also occur in the brain and on nerves in the skull and spinal cord, and may cause loss of speech, eye movement, and the ability to swallow. Also called neurofibromatosis type 2 and NF2.

acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

A disease caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). People with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome are at an increased risk for developing certain cancers and for infections that usually occur only in individuals with a weak immune system. Also called AIDS.

acquired pure red cell aplasia

A rare disorder in which the bone marrow makes almost no red blood cells. It may be caused by infection or by certain drugs. Patients with this disorder may also have a thymoma (a tumor of the thymus) or an autoimmune condition such as lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis.

acridine carboxamide

A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of topoisomerase inhibitor. Also called DACA.

acromegaly

A condition in which the pituitary gland makes too much growth hormone after normal growth of the skeleton is finished. This causes the bones of the hands, feet, head, and face to grow larger than normal. Acromegaly can be caused by a pituitary gland tumor.

acrylonitrile

A substance used to make plastics, rubber, and textiles. Being exposed to acrylonitrile may increase the risk of developing certain cancers, such as lung, brain, or prostate cancer.

ACTH

A hormone made in the pituitary gland. ACTH acts on the outer part of the adrenal gland to control its release of corticosteroid hormones. More ACTH is made during times of stress. Also called adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticotropin.

Actinex

A drug put on the skin to treat growths caused by sun exposure. A form of Actinex that is taken by mouth is being studied in the treatment of prostate cancer. Actinex is an antioxidant, and it may block certain enzymes needed for tumor growth. Also called masoprocol, NDGA, and nordihydroguaiaretic acid.

actinic keratosis

A thick, scaly patch of skin that may become cancer. It usually forms on areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, scalp, back of the hands, or chest. It is most common in people with fair skin. Also called senile keratosis and solar keratosis.

actinomycin D

A drug used to treat Ewing sarcoma, gestational trophoblastic tumor, Wilms tumor, and certain types of testicular cancer. It is also used to treat rhabdomyosarcoma in children. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Actinomycin D comes from the bacterium Streptomyces parvulus. It damages the cell

action study

In cancer prevention clinical trials, a study that focuses on finding out whether actions people take can prevent cancer.

Activase

A form of tissue plasminogen activator that is made in the laboratory. It helps dissolve blood clots and is used to treat heart attacks, strokes, and clots in the lungs. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of systemic thrombolytic agent. Also called Alteplase, r-tPA, and recombinant tissue plasminogen activator.

activate

In biology, to stimulate a cell in a resting state to become active. This causes biochemical and functional changes in the activated cell.

active surveillance

A treatment plan that involves closely watching a patient

activities of daily living

The tasks of everyday life. These activities include eating, dressing, getting into or out of a bed or chair, taking a bath or shower, and using the toilet. Instrumental activities of daily living are activities related to independent living and include preparing meals, managing money, shopping, doing housework, and using a telephone. Also called ADL.

Actos

A drug that is used to treat type 2 diabetes and is being studied in the prevention of head and neck cancer. It may be able to stop leukoplakia (a condition affecting the mouth ) from developing into cancer. It is a type of thiazolidinedione. Also called pioglitazone.

acupoint

A specific spot on the body where an acupuncture needle may be inserted to control pain and other symptoms. Also called acupuncture point.

acupressure

The application of pressure or localized massage to specific sites on the body to control symptoms such as pain or nausea. It is a type of complementary and alternative medicine.

acupuncture

The technique of inserting thin needles through the skin at specific points on the body to control pain and other symptoms. It is a type of complementary and alternative medicine.

acupuncture needle

A stainless steel needle that is slightly thicker than a human hair. Acupuncture needles are inserted through the skin at specific points on the body to control pain and other symptoms.

acupuncture point

A specific spot on the body where an acupuncture needle may be inserted to control pain and other symptoms. Also called acupoint.

acupuncture point injection

A procedure in which drugs, vitamins, herbal extracts, or other fluids are injected into the body at an acupuncture point using a syringe and needle.

acupuncture-like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

A procedure in which mild electric currents are applied to certain acupuncture points (spots on the body where an acupuncture needle may be inserted to control pain and other symptoms) on the skin. It is being studied in the treatment of dry mouth caused by radiation therapy for cancer. Also called ALTENS.

acupuncturist

A person trained in acupuncture (therapy that uses thin needles inserted through the skin at specific points on the body to control pain and other symptoms). Acupuncture is a type of complementary and alternative medicine.

acustimulation

Mild electrical stimulation of acupuncture points to control symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.

acute

Symptoms or signs that begin and worsen quickly; not chronic.

acute bacterial prostatitis

Inflammation of the prostate gland that begins suddenly and gets worse quickly. It is caused by a bacterial infection. Symptoms include fever and chills, body aches, pain in the lower back and genital area, a burning feeling during urination, and problems with emptying the bladder all the way.

acute leukemia

A rapidly progressing cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow, and causes large numbers of white blood cells to be produced and enter the blood stream.

acute lymphoblastic leukemia

An aggressive (fast-growing) type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute lymphocytic leukemia and ALL.

acute lymphocytic leukemia

An aggressive (fast-growing) type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute lymphoblastic leukemia and ALL.

acute myeloblastic leukemia

An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, AML, and ANLL.

acute myelogenous leukemia

An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, AML, and ANLL.

acute myeloid leukemia

An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, AML, and ANLL.

acute nonlymphocytic leukemia

An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, AML, and ANLL.

acute pain

Pain that comes on quickly, can be severe, but lasts a relatively short time.

acute promyelocytic leukemia

An aggressive (fast-growing) type of acute myeloid leukemia in which there are too many immature blood-forming cells in the blood and bone marrow. It is usually marked by an exchange of parts of chromosomes 15 and 17. Also called APL and promyelocytic leukemia.

acute radiation sickness

Serious illness caused by being exposed to high doses of certain types of radiation, usually over a short period of time. Symptoms of acute radiation sickness usually occur right after exposure but they may happen over time, and they may come and go. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, bleeding, hair loss, swelling, itching, and redness of the skin, and other skin problems. Very large doses of radiation may cause death. Also called acute radiation syndrome, radiation poisoning, radiation sickness, and radiation sickness syndrome.

acute radiation syndrome

Serious illness caused by being exposed to high doses of certain types of radiation, usually over a short period of time. Symptoms of acute radiation syndrome usually occur right after exposure but they may happen over time, and they may come and go. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, bleeding, hair loss, swelling, itching, and redness of the skin, and other skin problems. Very large doses of radiation may cause death. Also called acute radiation sickness, radiation poisoning, radiation sickness, and radiation sickness syndrome.

acyclovir

A substance used to prevent or treat cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex infections that may occur when the body is immunosuppressed. It belongs to the family of drugs called antivirals.

AD 32

A drug used to treat bladder cancer that does not respond to BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin). It is an anthracycline and is a type of antitumor antibiotic. Also called valrubicin.

ADCC

A type of immune reaction in which a target cell or microbe is coated with antibodies and killed by certain types of white blood cells. The white blood cells bind to the antibodies and release substances that kill the target cells or microbes. Also called antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity.

Adcetris

A drug used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma and systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma that did not get better with other treatment. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of lymphoma. Adcetris is made by combining a monoclonal antibody with an anticancer drug. It binds to a protein called CD30, which is on the surface of some lymphoma cells, and may kill cancer cells. Adcetris is a type of antibody-drug conjugate. Also called brentuximab vedotin and SGN-35.

Adderall

A combination of drugs used as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder). It is a type of stimulant. Also called dextroamphetamine-amphetamine.

addiction

An uncontrollable craving, seeking, and use of a substance, such as adrug or alcohol.

Addison disease

A rare disorder in which the adrenal glands do not make enough of certain hormones. Symptoms include weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, fatigue, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, and patchy or dark skin. Most cases of the disorder are caused by immune system problems, but may also be caused by infection, cancer, or other diseases. Also called adrenal insufficiency.

ADE

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML). It includes the drugs cytarabine (Ara-C), daunorubicin hydrochloride, and etoposide phosphate. Also called ADE regimen.

ADE regimen

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML). It includes the drugs cytarabine (Ara-C), daunorubicin hydrochloride, and etoposide phosphate. Also called ADE.

adenine

A chemical compound that is used to make one of the building blocks of DNA and RNA. It is also a part of many substances in the body that give energy to cells. Adenine is a type of purine.

adenocarcinoma

Cancer that begins in glandular (secretory) cells. Glandular cells are found in tissue that lines certain internal organs and makes and releases substances in the body, such as mucus, digestive juices, or other fluids. Most cancers of the breast, pancreas, lung, prostate, and colon are adenocarcinomas.

adenocarcinoma in situ

A condition in which abnormal cells are found in the glandular tissue that lines certain internal organs, such as the uterus, cervix, lung, pancreas, and colon. Adenocarcinoma in situ, which occurs most often in the cervix, may become cancer and spread to nearby normal tissue. Also called AIS.

adenoid cystic carcinoma

A rare type of cancer that usually begins in the salivary glands.

adenoma

A tumor that is not cancer. It starts in gland-like cells of the epithelial tissue (thin layer of tissue that covers organs, glands, and other structures within the body).

adenopathy

Large or swollen lymph glands.

adenosarcoma

A tumor that is a mixture of an adenoma (a tumor that starts in the gland-like cells of epithelial tissue) and a sarcoma (a tumor that starts in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue). An example of an adenosarcoma is Wilms tumor.

adenosine triphosphate

A substance present in all living cells that provides energy for many metabolic processes and is involved in making RNA. Adenosine triphosphate made in the laboratory is being studied in patients with advanced solid tumors to see if it can decrease weight loss and improve muscle strength. Also called ATP.

adenosis

A disease or abnormal change in a gland. Breast adenosis is a benign condition in which the lobules are larger than usual.

adenosquamous carcinoma

A type of cancer that contains two types of cells: squamous cells (thin, flat cells that line certain organs) and gland-like cells.

adenovirus

A member of a family of viruses that can cause infections in the respiratory tract, eye, and gastrointestinal tract. Forms of adenoviruses that do not cause disease are used in gene therapy. They carry genes that may fix defects in cells or kill cancer cells.

ADH

A benign (not cancer) condition in which there are more cells than normal in the lining of breast ducts and the cells look abnormal under a microscope. Having ADH increases the risk of breast cancer. Also called atypical ductal breast hyperplasia and atypical ductal hyperplasia.

ADI-PEG 20

A substance being studied in the treatment of melanoma, liver cancer, and other types of cancer. It breaks down the amino acid arginine and may block the growth of cancer cells that need arginine to grow. It is a type of iminohydrolase. Also called pegylated arginine deiminase.

adjunct agent

In cancer therapy, a drug or substance used in addition to the primary therapy.

adjunct therapy

Another treatment used together with the primary treatment. Its purpose is to assist the primary treatment. Also called adjunctive therapy.

adjunctive therapy

Another treatment used together with the primary treatment. Its purpose is to assist the primary treatment. Also called adjunct therapy.

adjustment disorder

A condition in which a person responds to a stressful event (such as an illness, job loss, or divorce) with extreme emotions and actions that cause problems at work and home.

adjuvant therapy

Additional cancer treatment given after the primary treatment to lower the risk that the cancer will come back. Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, or biological therapy.

ADL

Activities of daily living. The tasks of everyday life. Basic ADLs include eating, dressing, getting into or out of a bed or chair, taking a bath or shower, and using the toilet. Instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) are activities related to independent living and include preparing meals, managing money, shopping, doing housework, and using a telephone. Also called activities of daily living.

administration

In medicine, the act of giving a treatment, such as a drug, to a patient. It can also refer to the way it is given, the dose, or how often it is given.

adnexal mass

A lump in tissue near the uterus, usually in the ovary or fallopian tube. Adnexal masses include ovarian cysts, ectopic (tubal) pregnancies, and benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer) tumors.

ado-trastuzumab emtansine

A drug used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients who have already been treated with the anticancer drug called trastuzumab and a type of drug called a taxane. It may also be used in patients whose cancer has recurred (come back) after adjuvant therapy with these drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Ado-trastuzumab emtansine contains a monoclonal antibody called trastuzumab that binds to a protein called HER2, which is found on some breast cancer cells. It also contains an anticancer drug called DM1, which may help kill cancer cells. Ado-trastuzumab emtansine is a type of antibody-drug conjugate. Also called Kadcyla and T-DM1.

adoptive cellular therapy

A treatment used to help the immune system fight diseases, such as cancer and infections with certain viruses. T cells are collected from a patient and grown in the laboratory. This increases the number of T cells that are able to kill cancer cells or fight infections. These T cells are given back to the patient to help the immune system fight disease. Also called cellular adoptive immunotherapy.

adrenal cancer

Cancer that forms in the tissues of the adrenal glands (two glands located just above the kidneys). The adrenal glands make hormones that control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important body functions. Adrenal cancer that starts in the outside layer of the adrenal gland is called adrenocortical carcinoma. Adrenal cancer that starts in the center of the adrenal gland is called malignant pheochromocytoma.

adrenal cortex

The outer part of the adrenal gland (a small organ on top of each kidney). The adrenal cortex makes androgen and corticosteroid hormones.

adrenal gland

A small gland that makes steroid hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These hormones help control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important body functions. There are two adrenal glands, one on top of each kidney. Also called suprarenal gland.

adrenal insufficiency

A rare disorder in which the adrenal glands do not make enough of certain hormones. Symptoms include weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, fatigue, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, and patchy or dark skin. Most cases of the disorder are caused by immune system problems, but may also be caused by infection, cancer, or other diseases. Also called Addison disease.

adrenal medulla

The inner part of the adrenal gland (a small organ on top of each kidney). The adrenal medulla makes chemicals such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) which are involved in sending nerve signals.

adrenalectomy

Surgery to remove one or both adrenal glands (a small organ on top of each kidney).

adrenaline

A hormone and neurotransmitter. Also called epinephrine.

adrenocortical

Having to do with or made by the outer layer of the adrenal gland, which produces steroid hormones. There is an adrenal gland on top of each kidney.

adrenocortical cancer

A rare cancer that forms in the outer layer of tissue of the adrenal gland (a small organ on top of each kidney that makes steroid hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline to control heart rate, blood pressure, and other body functions). Also called adrenocortical carcinoma and cancer of the adrenal cortex.

adrenocortical carcinoma

A rare cancer that forms in the outer layer of tissue of the adrenal gland (a small organ on top of each kidney that makes steroid hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline to control heart rate, blood pressure, and other body functions). Also called adrenocortical cancer and cancer of the adrenal cortex.

adrenocorticotropic hormone

A hormone made in the pituitary gland. Adrenocorticotropic hormone acts on the outer part of the adrenal gland to control its release of corticosteroid hormones. More adrenocorticotropic hormone is made during times of stress. Also called ACTH and corticotropin.

AdreView

A drug containing a form of radioactive iodine called I 123 that is used to detect certain types of tumors, including pheochromocytomas and neuroblastomas. Radiation from the I 123 may help show where cancer cells are in the body. AdreView is a type of radioimaging agent and a type of radioconjugate. Also called 123I-MIBG, iobenguane I 123, and iodine I 123 metaiodobenzylguanidine.

Adriamycin PFS

A drug that is used to treat many types of cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Adriamycin PFS comes from the bacterium Streptomyces peucetius. It damages DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of anthracycline antitumor antibiotic. Also called Adriamycin RDF, doxorubicin, doxorubicin hydrochloride, hydroxydaunorubicin, and Rubex.

Adriamycin RDF

A drug that is used to treat many types of cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Adriamycin RDF comes from the bacterium Streptomyces peucetius. It damages DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of anthracycline antitumor antibiotic. Also called Adriamycin PFS, doxorubicin, doxorubicin hydrochloride, hydroxydaunorubicin, and Rubex.

Adrucil

A drug used to treat cancers of the breast, stomach, and pancreas, and certain types of colorectal and head and neck cancers. It is also used in a cream to treat basal cell skin cancer and actinic keratosis (a skin condition that may become cancer). It is being studied in the treatment of other conditions and types of cancer. Adrucil stops cells from making DNA and it may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimetabolite. Also called 5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Efudex, Fluoroplex, and fluorouracil.

adult progeria

An inherited disorder marked by rapid aging that begins in early adolescence. Patients may be shorter than average, and have health problems such as loss and graying of hair, hardening of the arteries, thinning of the bones, diabetes, and thin, hardened skin. They also have an increased risk of cancer, especially osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer). Adult progeria is caused by a mutation (change) in a gene involved in cell division. It is a type of autosomal recessive gene disease. Also called Werner syndrome and WS.

adult rickets

A condition in adults in which bones become soft and deformed because they don

adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma

An aggressive (fast-growing) type of T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma caused by the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). It is marked by bone and skin lesions, high calcium levels, and enlarged lymph nodes, spleen, and liver. Also called ATLL.

adulterant

A substance added to a product but not listed as an ingredient, or a substance that ends up in a product by accident when the product is made. Adulterants may be in foods, drugs, and other products. An adulterant may cause a product to be harmful, cheaper to make, or not work as it should.

advance directive

A legal document that states the treatment or care a person wishes to receive or not receive if he or she becomes unable to make medical decisions (for example, due to being unconscious or in a coma). Some types of advance directives are living wills and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders.

advanced cancer

Cancer that has spread to other places in the body and usually cannot be cured or controlled with treatment.

advanced practice nurse

A registered nurse who has additional education and training in how to diagnose and treat disease. Advanced practice nurses are licensed at the state level and certified by national nursing organizations. In cancer care, an advanced practice nurse may manage the primary care of patients and their families, based on a practice agreement with a doctor. Also called APN, NP, and nurse practitioner.

adverse effect

An unexpected medical problem that happens during treatment with a drug or other therapy. Adverse effects do not have to be caused by the drug or therapy, and they may be mild, moderate, or severe. Also called adverse event.

adverse event

An unexpected medical problem that happens during treatment with a drug or other therapy. Adverse events do not have to be caused by the drug or therapy, and they may be mild, moderate, or severe. Also called adverse effect.

Advil

A drug used to treat fever, swelling, pain, and redness by preventing the body from making a substance that causes inflammation. It is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Also called ibuprofen and Motrin.

AE-941

A substance made from shark cartilage that is being studied for its ability to prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent.

AEE788

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors and angiogenesis inhibitors.

AEG35156

A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. AEG35156 may kill cancer cells by blocking the production of a protein called XIAP that helps cells live longer. It also makes cancer cells more sensitive to anticancer drugs. It is a type of antisense oligonucleotide, and a type of chemosensitizing agent. Also called GEM640.

aerobic

In biochemistry, reactions that need oxygen to happen or happen when oxygen is present.

aerobic exercise

Physical activity that increases the heart rate and the body

aerobic metabolism

A chemical process in which oxygen is used to make energy from carbohydrates (sugars). Also called aerobic respiration, cell respiration, and oxidative metabolism.

aerobic respiration

A chemical process in which oxygen is used to make energy from carbohydrates (sugars). Also called aerobic metabolism, cell respiration, and oxidative metabolism.

aerodigestive tract

The combined organs and tissues of the respiratory tract and the upper part of the digestive tract (including the lips, mouth, tongue, nose, throat, vocal cords, and part of the esophagus and windpipe).

aerosolize

In medicine, to turn a liquid drug into a fine mist that can be inhaled.

afatinib dimaleate

A drug used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients with certain mutations (changes) in a cell protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Afatinib dimaleate blocks certain EGFRs, which may help keep cancer cells from growing. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. Afatinib dimaleate is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called Gilotrif.

affinity

In chemistry and biology, the strength of the attaction between two substances, such as two chemicals, or an antigen and an antibody.

affinity reagent

In chemistry and biology, a compound that binds specific substances, such as proteins or nucleic acids. Many affinity reagents are antibodies. They are used to analyze tissue samples to help diagnose diseases.

Afinitor

A drug used with another drug to treat some postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer that is hormone-receptor positive and HER2 negative. It is also used to treat certain types of pancreatic cancer, a type of advanced kidney cancer, and subependymal giant cell astrocytoma in some patients, including children. Afinitor is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It stops cancer cells from dividing and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It also lowers the body

Afinitor Disperz

A drug used with another drug to treat some postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer that is hormone-receptor positive and HER2 negative. It is also used to treat certain types of pancreatic cancer, a type of advanced kidney cancer, and subependymal giant cell astrocytoma in some patients, including children. Afinitor Disperz is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It stops cancer cells from dividing and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It also lowers the body

aflatoxin

A harmful substance made by certain types of mold (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus) that is often found on poorly stored grains and nuts. Consumption of foods contaminated with aflatoxin is a risk factor for primary liver cancer.

AFP

A protein normally produced by a fetus. AFP levels are usually undetectable in the blood of healthy adult men or women (who are not pregnant). An elevated level of AFP suggests the presence of either a primary liver cancer or germ cell tumor. Also called alpha-fetoprotein.

AFP464

A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. AFP464 kills cancer cells or stops them from dividing. It is a type of aminoflavone.

AG-013736

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors and protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

AG014699

A substance being studied in the treatment of breast cancers caused by mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks an enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. AG014699 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called PARP-1 inhibitor AG014699.

AG2037

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called glycinamide ribonucleotide formyl transferase inhibitors.

AG3340

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor and belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called prinomastat.

AG337

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of liver cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called thymidylate synthase inhibitors. Also called nolatrexed and Thymitaq.

aganglionic megacolon

A condition in which certain nerve cells are missing from the muscle layers of part of the large intestine. This causes severe constipation or blockage of the large intestine. Constipation is when stool becomes hard, dry, and difficult to pass and bowel movements occur less often than normal. Other symptoms include swollen abdomen, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, gas, lack of energy, and trouble gaining weight. Aganglionic megacolon is present from birth, but the symptoms may not appear until later in a child

AGC

A finding of abnormal cells in a Pap test. The glandular cells come from the inner part of the cervix or the lining of the uterus. This finding may be a sign of cancer or other serious condition, and more testing may be needed. Also called atypical glandular cells.

age-related macular degeneration

A condition in which there is a slow breakdown of cells in the center of the retina (the light-sensitive layers of nerve tissue at the back of the eye). This blocks vision in the center of the eye and can cause problems with activities such as reading and driving. Age-related macular degeneration is most often seen in people who are over the age of 50. Also called AMD, ARMD, and macular degeneration.

agent study

In cancer prevention, a clinical trial that studies whether taking certain medicines, vitamins, minerals, or food supplements can prevent cancer. Also called chemoprevention study.

agglutinin

A substance that makes particles (such as bacteria or cells) stick together to form a clump or a mass.

aggravating factor

Something that makes a condition worse. For example, tobacco smoke is an aggravating factor for asthma.

aggressive

In medicine, describes a tumor or disease that forms, grows, or spreads quickly. It may also describe treatment that is more severe or intense than usual.

aggressive lymphoma

A type of lymphoma that grows and spreads quickly and has severe symptoms. Also called high-grade lymphoma and intermediate-grade lymphoma.

agitation

A condition in which a person is unable to relax and be still. The person may be very tense and irritable, and become easily annoyed by small things. He or she may be eager to have an argument, and be unwilling to work with caregivers to make the situation better.

agnogenic myeloid metaplasia

A progressive, chronic disease in which the bone marrow is replaced by fibrous tissue and blood is made in organs such as the liver and the spleen, instead of in the bone marrow. This disease is marked by an enlarged spleen and progressive anemia. Also called chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis, idiopathic myelofibrosis, myelosclerosis with myeloid metaplasia, and primary myelofibrosis.

agonist

A drug or substance that binds to a receptor inside a cell or on its surface and causes the same action as the substance that normally binds to the receptor.

agoraphobia

An intense fear of being in open places or in situations where it may be hard to escape, or where help may not be available. People with agoraphobia are usually very anxious about having a panic attack in a public place. They may also have a fear of being alone or have trouble leaving their home. They usually avoid elevators, bridges, and public places. Agoraphobia is a type of phobia and a type of anxiety disorder.

agranulocyte

A type of white blood cell. Monocytes and lymphocytes are agranulocytes.

AGUS

A term that has been used to describe abnormal cells that come from glands in the walls of the cervix (the lower, narrow end of the uterus). These abnormal cells are found in a small number of Pap smears (a procedure used to detect cervical cancer) and may be a sign of more serious lesions or cancer. The term used now is atypical glandular cells. Also called atypical glandular cells of uncertain significance and atypical glandular cells of undetermined significance.

AHA

One of a group of substances that are found in several types of fruit and in milk. They are used in skin care products to reduce wrinkles and soften the skin. Examples of AHAs are glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid. Also called alpha hydroxyl acid and fruit acid.

AIDS

A disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). People with AIDS are at an increased risk for developing certain cancers and for infections that usually occur only in individuals with a weak immune system. Also called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

AIDS-related cancer

Types of cancer that are more likely to occur in people who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The most common AIDS-related cancers are Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and cervical cancer. People infected with HIV who develop any one of these cancers are considered to have AIDS. Other less common types of AIDS-related cancers include cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, lung, colon, rectum, anus, testes, and skin.

AIS

A condition in which abnormal cells are found in the glandular tissue that lines certain internal organs, such as the uterus, cervix, lung, pancreas, and colon. AIS, which occurs most often in the cervix, may become cancer and spread to nearby normal tissue. Also called adenocarcinoma in situ.

AJCC staging system

A system to describe the amount and spread of cancer in a patient

Akt

A group of enzymes involved in several processes related to cell growth and survival. Akt enzymes help to transfer signals inside cells. An Akt enzyme is a type of serine/threonine protein kinase. Also called protein kinase B.

Alagille syndrome

A rare disorder in which there are defects in the small tubes that carry bile (fluid that helps digest fat) out of the liver. These small tubes may be narrow or have an abnormal shape, or there may be fewer of them than normal. This can cause bile to build up in the liver, which may lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver damage. Alagille syndrome can also affect other parts of the body, including the heart, kidneys, blood vessels, eyes, face, and spine. It usually occurs in infants and children and may be inherited.

alanine aminopeptidase

An enzyme that is normally found in healthy kidneys. It may be found at high levels in the urine when there are kidney problems. It is used as a biomarker to detect damage to the kidneys caused by drugs and other agents. It may also be used to diagnose certain kidney and liver disorders. Also called AAP.

alanine transferase

An enzyme found in the liver and other tissues. A high level of alanine transferase released into the blood may be a sign of liver damage, cancer, or other diseases. Also called serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase and SGPT.

alanosine

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. Also called SDX-102.

albinism

A group of genetic conditions marked by little or none of the pigment melanin in the skin, hair, and/or eyes. People with albinism may have vision problems and white or yellow hair; reddish, violet, blue or brown eyes; and pale skin.

albumin

A type of protein found in blood, egg white, milk, and other substances.

ALCAR

A form of the natural substance carnitine that is being studied as a way to prevent tissue damage caused by chemotherapy. Carnitine is made in muscle and liver tissue and is found in certain foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, and some dairy products. It is used by many cells in the body to make energy from fat. Also called acetyl-L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine hydrochloride.

ALCL

An aggressive (fast-growing) type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that is usually of the T-cell type. The cancer cells express a marker called CD30 or Ki-1 on the surface, and may appear in the lymph nodes, skin, bones, soft tissues, lungs, or liver. Also called anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

alcohol

A chemical substance found in drinks such as beer, wine, and liquor. It is also found in some medicines, mouthwashes, household products, and essential oils (scented liquid taken from certain plants). It is made by a chemical process called fermentation that uses sugars and yeast. There are different types of alcohol. The type used to make alcoholic drinks is called ethyl alcohol (ethanol). Drinking regular or large amounts of alcohol may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, such as cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, breast, liver, colon, and rectum.

alcohol ablation

An injection of ethanol (alcohol) through the skin directly into a tumor to kill cancer cells. Ultrasound or a CT scan is used to guide the needle into the tumor. Also called ethanol ablation, PEI, and percutaneous ethanol injection.

alcohol dependence

A chronic disease in which a person craves drinks that contain alcohol and is unable to control his or her drinking. A person with this disease also needs to drink greater amounts to get the same effect and has withdrawal symptoms after stopping alcohol use. Alcohol dependence affects physical and mental health, and can cause problems with family, friends, and work. Regular heavy alcohol intake increases the risk of several types of cancer. Also called alcoholism.

alcoholism

A chronic disease in which a person craves drinks that contain alcohol and is unable to control his or her drinking. A person with this disease also needs to drink greater amounts to get the same effect and has withdrawal symptoms after stopping alcohol use. Alcoholism affects physical and mental health, and can cause problems with family, friends, and work. Regular heavy alcohol intake increases the risk of several types of cancer. Also called alcohol dependence.

Aldara

A drug used to treat early basal cell skin cancer and certain other skin conditions. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Aldara is a type of biological response modifier. Also called imiquimod.

aldehyde

A type of chemical substance made from alcohol. Aldehydes are found in essential oils (scented liquid taken from plants).

aldesleukin

A drug used to treat some types of cancer. It is a form of interleukin-2, a cytokine made by leukocytes (white blood cells), that is made in the laboratory. Aldesleukin increases the activity and growth of white blood cells called T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes. It is a type of biological response modifier. Also called Proleukin and recombinant human interleukin-2.

aldosterone

A steroid hormone made by the adrenal cortex (the outer layer of the adrenal gland). It helps control the balance of water and salts in the kidney by keeping sodium in and releasing potassium from the body. Too much aldosterone can cause high blood pressure and a build-up of fluid in body tissues. Aldosterone is a type of mineralocorticoid hormone.

Aldrich syndrome

An inherited immune disorder that occurs in young boys. It causes eczema (a type of skin inflammation), a decrease in the number of platelets (blood cells that help prevent bleeding), and frequent bacterial infections. People with Aldrich syndrome are at increased risk of developing leukemia and lymphoma. Also called Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.

alefacept

A drug that is used to treat certain skin conditions and is being studied in the treatment of cutaneous (skin-related) T-cell cancer and T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Alefacept is made by combining part of an antibody with a protein that blocks the growth some types of T cells. It is a type of fusion protein and a type of immunosuppressant. Also called Amevive.

alemtuzumab

A type of monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of leukemia. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells. Also called Campath-1H.

alendronate sodium

A drug used to treat certain bone conditions, such as osteoporosis and Paget disease of the bone. It is also being studied in the treatment of hypercalcemia (high levels of calcium in the blood) and bone pain caused by cancer. Alendronate sodium slows the breakdown of bone and prevents the loss of calcium. It is a type of bisphosphonate. Also called Fosamax.

ALH

A benign (not cancer) condition in which there are more cells than normal in the breast lobules and the cells look abnormal under a microscope. Having ALH increases the risk of breast cancer. Also called atypical lobular breast hyperplasia and atypical lobular hyperplasia.

Alimta

A drug used alone or with another drug to treat certain types of non-small cell lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Alimta blocks DNA synthesis and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of folate antagonist. Also called LY231514 and pemetrexed disodium.

ALK gene

A gene that makes a protein called anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), which may be involved in cell growth. Mutated (changed) forms of the ALK gene and protein have been found in some types of cancer, including neuroblastoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and anaplastic large cell lymphoma. These changes may increase the growth of cancer cells. Checking for changes in the ALK gene in tumor tissue may help to plan cancer treatment. Also called anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene.

alkali

A chemical that can dissolve in water, combine with acids to form salts, and make acids less acidic. Alkalis have a bitter taste and turn certain dyes blue. Some alkalis can help the body work the way it should. An example of an alkali is sodium hydroxide.

alkalinity

Refers to the amount of alkali. An alkali is a chemical that can dissolve in water, combine with acids to form salts, and make acids less acidic.

alkalinization

A process that lowers the amount of acid in a solution. In medicine, an alkali, such as sodium bicarbonate, may be given to patients to lower high levels of acid in the blood or urine that can be caused by certain medicines or conditions.

alkaloid

A member of a large group of substances found in plants and in some fungi. Alkaloids contain nitrogen and can be made in the laboratory. Nicotine, caffeine, codeine, and vincristine are alkaloids. Some alkaloids, such as vincristine, are used to treat cancer.

Alkeran

A drug that is used to treat multiple myeloma and ovarian epithelial cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents. Also called melphalan.

alkylating agent

A type of drug that is used in the treatment of cancer. It interferes with the cell's DNA and inhibits cancer cell growth.

ALL

An aggressive (fast-growing) type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute lymphocytic leukemia.

all-trans retinoic acid

A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. All-trans retinoic acid is made in the body from vitamin A and helps cells to grow and develop, especially in the embryo. A form of all-trans retinoic acid made in the laboratory is put on the skin to treat conditions such as acne and is taken by mouth to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (a fast-growing cancer in which there are too many immature blood-forming cells in the blood and bone marrow). All-trans retinoic acid is being studied in the prevention and treatment of other types of cancer. Also called ATRA, retinoic acid, tretinoin, and vitamin A acid.

Allegra

A drug used to treat certain allergy symptoms. It blocks a chemical released during an allergic response that causes itching, sneezing, runny nose, wheezing, and watery eyes. It is a type of antihistamine. Also called fexofenadine.

allergen

A substance that causes an allergic response. Examples include pollen, molds, and certain foods.

allergic response

A hypersensitive immune reaction to a substance that normally is harmless or would not cause an immune response in most people. An allergic response may cause harmful symptoms such as itching or inflammation or tissue injury.

allogeneic

Taken from different individuals of the same species. Also called allogenic.

allogeneic bone marrow transplantation

A procedure in which a person receives stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) from a genetically similar, but not identical, donor.

allogeneic stem cell transplantation

A procedure in which a person receives blood-forming stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) from a genetically similar, but not identical, donor. This is often a sister or brother, but could be an unrelated donor.

allogenic

Taken from different individuals of the same species. Also called allogeneic.

allograft

The transplant of an organ, tissue, or cells from one individual to another individual of the same species who is not an identical twin.

allopathic medicine

A system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Also called biomedicine, conventional medicine, mainstream medicine, orthodox medicine, and Western medicine.

allopurinol

A drug that lowers high levels of uric acid (a byproduct of metabolism) in the blood caused by some cancer treatments.

Allovectin-7

A substance that is being studied as a gene therapy agent in the treatment of cancer. It increases the ability of the immune system to recognize cancer cells and kill them.

aloe-emodin

A substance found in certain plants, including aloe vera. It belongs to a family of compounds called anthraquinones, which have shown anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects.

alopecia

The lack or loss of hair from areas of the body where hair is usually found. Alopecia can be a side effect of some cancer treatments.

Aloxi

A drug used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It is also used to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery. Aloxi blocks the action of the chemical serotonin in the brain, which may help lessen nausea and vomiting. It is a type of serotonin receptor antagonist and a type of antiemetic. Also called palonosetron hydrochloride.

alpha hydroxyl acid

One of a group of substances that are found in several types of fruit and in milk. They are used in skin care products to reduce wrinkles and soften the skin. Examples of alpha hydroxyl acids are glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid. Also called AHA and fruit acid.

alpha-adrenergic antagonist

A substance that relaxes muscle tissue in blood vessels and in the prostate gland, which improves the flow of urine and blood. Alpha-adrenergic antagonists are used to treat the symptoms of many conditions, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), high blood pressure, and some blood circulation problems. Also called alpha-blocker.

alpha-blocker

A substance that relaxes muscle tissue in blood vessels and in the prostate gland, which improves the flow of urine and blood. Alpha-blockers are used to treat the symptoms of many conditions, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), high blood pressure, and some blood circulation problems. Also called alpha-adrenergic antagonist.

alpha-fetoprotein

A protein normally produced by a fetus. AFP levels are usually undetectable in the blood of healthy adult men or women (who are not pregnant). An elevated level of AFP suggests the presence of either a primary liver cancer or germ cell tumor. Also called AFP.

alpha-lipoic acid

A substance that is being studied for its ability to protect normal cells from the side effects of chemotherapy and prevent peripheral neuropathy (numbness, tingling, burning, and weakness in the hands or feet). Alpha-lipoic acid is made by the body and can be found in foods such as organ meats, spinach, broccoli, peas, brussel sprouts, and rice bran. It can also be made in the laboratory. Alpha-lipoic acid is a type of antioxidant and chemoprotective agent.

alpha-tocopherol

A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to stay healthy and work the way it should. It is fat-soluble (can dissolve in fats and oils) and is found in seeds, nuts, leafy green vegetables, and vegetable oils. Alpha-tocopherol boosts the immune system and helps keep blood clots from forming. It also helps prevent cell damage caused by free radicals (highly reactive chemicals). Alpha-tocopherol is being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer. It is a type of antioxidant. Also called vitamin E.

alprazolam

A drug used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. It is being studied in the treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by some cancer treatments. It is a type of benzodiazepine. Also called Xanax.

alprostadil

A drug that is used to treat impotence (inability to have an erection) and is being studied in the treatment of sexual problems in men who have had surgery for prostate cancer. It is a type of vasodilator. Also called PGE1 and prostaglandin E1.

ALTENS

A procedure in which mild electric currents are applied to certain acupuncture points (spots on the body where an acupuncture needle may be inserted to control pain and other symptoms) on the skin. It is being studied in the treatment of dry mouth caused by radiation therapy for cancer. Also called acupuncture-like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.

Alteplase

A form of tissue plasminogen activator that is made in the laboratory. It helps dissolve blood clots and is used to treat heart attacks, strokes, and clots in the lungs. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of systemic thrombolytic agent. Also called Activase, r-tPA, and recombinant tissue plasminogen activator.

alteration

A change resulting in something that is different from the original.

alternative medicine

Treatments that are used instead of standard treatments. Standard treatments are based on the results of scientific research and are currently accepted and widely used. Less research has been done for most types of alternative medicine. Alternative medicine may include special diets, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, and magnet therapy. For example, a special diet may be used instead of anticancer drugs as a treatment for cancer.

altretamine

An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

alum

A chemical substance that contains aluminum sulfate and a second chemical, usually potassium sulfate. It is used to shrink tissues, to stop bleeding, and to boost the immune response to a vaccine.

aluminum

A metallic element that is found combined with other elements in the earth

ALVAC-CEA vaccine

A cancer vaccine made with a form of the canarypox virus that does not cause disease in people. It is being studied in the treatment of some kinds of cancer. The virus is changed in the laboratory to make a protein called carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), which is a tumor marker. ALVAC-CEA vaccine may help the immune system find and kill cancer cells that make CEA.

alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma

A soft tissue tumor that is most common in older children and teenagers. It begins in embryonic muscle cells (cells that develop into muscles in the body). It can occur at many places in the body, but usually occurs in the trunk, arms, or legs. Also called ARMS.

alveolar soft part sarcoma

A soft tissue tumor that is most common in older children and teenagers. It begins in the soft supporting tissue that connects and surrounds the organs and other tissues. Alveolar soft part sarcoma usually occurs in the legs, but can also occur in the arms, hands, head, or neck. It can cause the growth of new blood vessels that help the tumor grow and spread. Also called ASPS.

alveoli

Tiny air sacs at the end of the bronchioles (tiny branches of air tubes) in the lungs. The alveoli are where the lungs and the bloodstream exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen. Carbon dioxide in the blood passes into the lungs through the alveoli. Oxygen in the lungs passes through the alveoli into the blood.

alvocidib

A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. It stops cells from dividing and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor. Also called flavopiridol and HMR 1275.

Alzheimer dementia

A brain disorder that usually starts in late middle age or old age and gets worse over time. Symptoms include loss of memory, confusion, difficulty thinking, and changes in language, behavior, and personality. Also called Alzheimer disease.

Alzheimer disease

A brain disorder that usually starts in late middle age or old age and gets worse over time. Symptoms include loss of memory, confusion, difficulty thinking, and changes in language, behavior, and personality. Also called Alzheimer dementia.

Amanita phalloides

A type of poisonous mushroom that has harmful effects on the kidneys and liver. It is responsible for most fatal cases of mushroom poisoning. Also called death cap.

amantadine hydrochloride

A drug used to treat infections caused by the influenza A virus. It blocks the ability of the virus to infect cells and to make more virus particles. It is also used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson disease. Amantidine hydrochloride is a type of antiviral agent.

Ambien

A drug used to treat insomnia (inability to sleep), and anxiety. It is a type of imidazopyridine (sedative hypnotic). Also called zolpidem.

AMD

A condition in which there is a slow breakdown of cells in the center of the retina (the light-sensitive layers of nerve tissue at the back of the eye). This blocks vision in the center of the eye and can cause problems with activities such as reading and driving. AMD is most often seen in people who are over the age of 50. Also called age-related macular degeneration, ARMD, and macular degeneration.

AMD 3100

A drug used before autologous stem cell transplantation in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma or multiple myeloma. AMD 3100 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. AMD 3100 is a type of chemokine receptor antagonist. Also called Mozobil and plerixafor.

amelanotic melanoma

A type of skin cancer in which the cells do not make the pigment melanin. Skin lesions are often irregular and may be pink, red, or have light brown, tan, or gray at the edges.

amethopterin

A drug used to treat some types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and severe skin conditions, such as psoriasis. Amethopterin stops cells from making DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimetabolite. Also called methotrexate, MTX, and Rheumatrex.

Amevive

A drug that is used to treat certain skin conditions and is being studied in the treatment of cutaneous (skin-related) T-cell cancer and T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Amevive is made by combining part of an antibody with a protein that blocks the growth some types of T cells. It is a type of fusion protein and a type of immunosuppressant. Also called alefacept.

AMG 102

A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It binds to a protein called hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), which may cause cancer cells to grow. Blocking this may cause cancer cells to die. AMG 102 is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called anti-HGF monoclonal antibody AMG 102.

AMG 162

A drug used to prevent or treat certain bone problems. Under the brand name Xgeva, it is used to prevent broken bones and other bone problems caused by solid tumors that have spread to bone. It is also used in certain patients to treat giant cell tumor of the bone that cannot be removed by surgery. Under the brand name Prolia, it is used to treat osteoporosis (a decrease in bone mass and density) in postmenopausal women who have a high risk of breaking bones. AMG 162 is also being studied in the treatment of other conditions and types of cancer. It binds to a protein called RANKL, which keeps RANKL from binding to another protein called RANK on the surface of certain bone cells, including bone cancer cells. This may help keep bone from breaking down and cancer cells from growing. AMG 162 is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called denosumab, Prolia, and Xgeva.

AMG 531

A drug used to treat patients with immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) who do not get better with other forms of treatment. In ITP, platelets (cells that cause blood clots to form) are destroyed by the immune system. AMG 531 is being studied as a way to treat low platelet counts caused by chemotherapy. It binds to the thrombopoietin receptor and causes the bone marrow to make more platelets. AMG 531 is also being studied in the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes (a group of diseases in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells). It is a type of thrombopoietin agonist. Also called Nplate and romiplostim.

AMG 706

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors and protein kinase inhibitors.

amifostine

A drug used as a chemoprotective drug to control some of the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

amikacin

An antibiotic drug used to treat infection. It belongs to the family of drugs called aminoglycoside antibiotics.

amino acid

One of several molecules that join together to form proteins. There are 20 common amino acids found in proteins.

amino acid sequence

The arrangement of amino acids in a protein. Proteins can be made from 20 different kinds of amino acids, and the structure and function of each protein are determined by the kinds of amino acids used to make it and how they are arranged.

aminobenzoic acid

A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Bacteria that live in the intestines need aminobenzoic acid to survive. Aminobenzoic acid is found in grains and foods from animals. It is being studied as a radiosensitizer (a substance that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy) and in the treatment of certain skin disorders. Also called PABA and para-aminobenzoic acid.

aminocamptothecin

An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors.

aminoglutethimide

An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors. Aminoglutethimide is used to decrease the production of sex hormones (estrogen in women or testosterone in men) and suppress the growth of tumors that need sex hormones to grow.

aminoglycoside antibiotic

A substance that works against many types of bacteria and includes streptomycin, gentamicin, and neomycin. An aminoglycoside antibiotic is used to treat bacterial infections.

aminolevulinic acid

The active ingredient in a drug used to treat actinic keratosis (a skin condition that may become cancer). The drug is also being studied in the treatment of squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers and other types of cancer. When aminolevulinic acid is taken up by cells, including cancer cells, and then exposed to certain types of light, it becomes active and kills the cells. It is a type of photosensitizing agent.

aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride

A drug used to treat actinic keratosis (a skin condition that may become cancer). The drug is also being studied in the treatment of squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers and other types of cancer. When aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride is taken up by cells, including cancer cells, and then exposed to certain types of light, it becomes active and kills the cells. It is a type of photosensitizing agent. Also called Levulan and Levulan Kerastick.

aminopterin

An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites.

amiodarone hydrochloride

A drug used to treat certain types of abnormal heart rhythms that have not gotten better with other drugs. Amiodarone hydrochloride affects the electrical activity of the heart. It is a type of antiarrhythmic agent. Also called Corderone.

amitriptyline

A drug that is used to treat depression and may be given to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and pain. It is also being studied in an oral or gel form in the treatment of nerve pain caused by chemotherapy. Amitriptyline is a type of tricyclic antidepressant. Also called amitriptyline hydrochloride.

amitriptyline hydrochloride

A drug that is used to treat depression and may be given to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and pain. It is also being studied in an oral or gel form in the treatment of nerve pain caused by chemotherapy. Amitriptyline hydrochloride is a type of tricyclic antidepressant. Also called amitriptyline.

AML

An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, and ANLL.

ammonia

A gas made of nitrogen and hydrogen. It has a strong odor and can irritate the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Ammonia is made by bacteria and decaying plants and animals and is found in water, soil, and air. Ammonia is also made by the body when proteins break down. In the laboratory, ammonia can be changed to a liquid and used in medicines, fertilizers, household cleaning liquids, and other products. It is also added to cigarettes to increase the effect of nicotine on the body.

ammonium tetrathiomolybdate

A substance being studied in the treatment of many types of cancer. Ammonium tetrathiomolybdate removes extra copper from the body. Removing the copper may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow and may kill cancer cells. Ammonium tetrathiomolybdate is a type of chelating agent and a type of antiangiogenesis agent.

amonafide

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors and intercalating agents.

amoxicillin

A drug used to treat some bacterial infections. Amoxicillin is a form of penicillin that is made in the laboratory. It kills certain types of bacteria. It is a type of antibiotic.

amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium

A drug used to treat bacterial infections. Adding the chemical clavulanate potassium to the antibiotic amoxicillin increases the amount of time the antibiotic stays active in the body. Amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium is a type of combination antibiotic. Also called Augmentin.

amphotericin B

A drug used in the treatment of infections caused by fungi. It is a type of antifungal.

Amplimexon

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, breast, prostate, melanoma, and multiple myeloma. It belongs to the family of drugs called cyanoaziridine derivatives. Also called imexon.

ampulla

A sac-like enlargement of a canal or duct.

ampulla of Vater

An enlargement of the ducts from the liver and pancreas at the point where they enter the small intestine.

ampulla of Vater cancer

Cancer that forms in the ampulla of Vater (an enlargement of the ducts from the liver and pancreas where they join and enter the small intestine). Symptoms include jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Also called ampullary cancer.

ampullary cancer

Cancer that forms in the ampulla of Vater (an enlargement of the ducts from the liver and pancreas where they join and enter the small intestine). Symptoms include jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Also called ampulla of Vater cancer.

amputation

The removal by surgery of a limb (arm or leg) or other body part because of injury or disease, such as diabetes or cancer.

amrubicin

A substance being studied in the treatment of lung cancer. It is a type of anthracycline analog.

amsacrine

An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors.

amuvatinib

A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It may block certain proteins involved in cancer cell growth and DNA repair. Blocking these proteins may make cancer cells more sensitive to anticancer drugs and radiation therapy. Amuvatinib is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Also called MP470.

amygdalin

A substance found in the pits of many fruits such as apricots and papayas, and in other foods. It has been tried in some countries as a treatment for cancer, but it has not been shown to work in clinical studies. Amygdalin is not approved for use in the United States. Also called laetrile.

amylase

An enzyme that helps the body digest starches.

amyloidosis

A group of diseases in which protein builds up in certain organs (localized amyloidosis) or throughout the body (systemic amyloidosis). Amyloidosis may be either primary (with no known cause), secondary (caused by another disease, including some types of cancer, such as multiple myeloma), or hereditary (passed down from parents to children). Many organs are affected by amyloidosis. The organs affected may depend on whether the amyloidosis is the primary, secondary, or hereditary form.

anabolic steroid

A type of steroid that is used in medicine to repair body tissues and to increase appetite and the growth of muscles. Anabolic steroids are made in the laboratory from testosterone (a male hormone).

anagrelide

A drug that is used to decrease the number of platelets in the blood in order to prevent blood clotting.

anakinra

A substance that is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Anakinra blocks the action of interleukin 1 (IL-1). It is a type of interleukin receptor antagonist. Also called Kinaret.

anal

Having to do with the anus. The anus is the opening of the rectum (last part of the large intestine) to the outside of the body.

anal cancer

Cancer that forms in tissues of the anus. The anus is the opening of the rectum (last part of the large intestine) to the outside of the body.

anal Pap smear

A procedure in which cells are scraped from the lining of the anus (the opening of the rectum to the outside of the body) and looked at under a microscope. It is used to find cancer and changes in cells that may lead to cancer. An anal Pap smear can also show conditions that are not cancer, such as infection or inflammation. Also called anal Pap test.

anal Pap test

A procedure in which cells are scraped from the lining of the anus (the opening of the rectum to the outside of the body) and looked at under a microscope. It is used to find cancer and changes in cells that may lead to cancer. An anal Pap test can also show conditions that are not cancer, such as infection or inflammation. Also called anal Pap smear.

analgesia

Pain relief.

analgesic

A drug that reduces pain. Analgesics include aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.

analog

In chemistry, a substance that is similar, but not identical, to another.

analysis

A process in which anything complex is separated into simple or less complex parts.

anaphylactic shock

A severe and sometimes life-threatening immune system reaction to an antigen that a person has been previously exposed to. The reaction may include itchy skin, edema, collapsed blood vessels, fainting, difficulty in breathing, and death.

anaplastic

A term used to describe cancer cells that divide rapidly and have little or no resemblance to normal cells.

anaplastic large cell lymphoma

An aggressive (fast-growing) type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that is usually of the T-cell type. The cancer cells express a marker called CD30 or Ki-1 on the surface, and may appear in the lymph nodes, skin, bones, soft tissues, lungs, or liver. Also called ALCL.

anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene

A gene that makes a protein called anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), which may be involved in cell growth. Mutated (changed) forms of the ALK gene and protein have been found in some types of cancer, including neuroblastoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and anaplastic large cell lymphoma. These changes may increase the growth of cancer cells. Checking for changes in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene in tumor tissue may help to plan cancer treatment. Also called ALK gene.

anaplastic lymphoma receptor tyrosine kinase

A protein that is found on the outside of cells that sends signals into the cells. These signals help control cell growth and division. It is made by the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene, which may be changed in some types of cancer, such as anaplastic large cell lymphoma, neuroblastoma, and non-small cell lung cancer. These changes in the ALK gene can cause the cancer cells to grow and spread.

anaplastic thyroid cancer

A rare, aggressive type of thyroid cancer in which the malignant (cancer) cells look very different from normal thyroid cells.

anastomosis

A procedure to connect healthy sections of tubular structures in the body after the diseased portion has been surgically removed.

anastrozole

An anticancer drug that is used to decrease estrogen production and suppress the growth of tumors that need estrogen to grow. It is a type of nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor.

anatomic

Having to do with anatomy (the study of the structure of a plant or animal).

anatomist

A person who specializes in anatomy (the study of the structures of animals or plants).

anatomy

The study of the structure of a plant or animal.

ANC

A measure of the number of neutrophils in the blood. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell. They help the body fight infection. An ANC may be used to check for infection, inflammation, leukemia, and other conditions. Cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, may reduce the ANC. Also called absolute neutrophil count.

ancestim

A substance that causes blood stem cells (cells from which other types of cells develop) to change into different types of blood cells and increases the number and actions of these cells in the blood. It is being studied in the treatment of myelodysplasia. Ancestim is a type of recombinant stem cell growth factor. Also called r-metHuSCF, recombinant human methionyl stem cell factor, and Stemgen.

ancillary test

In a clinical trial, a medical test on a patient that is not a part of the original study design.

androblastoma

A rare type of ovarian tumor in which the tumor cells secrete a male sex hormone. This may cause virilization (the appearance of male physical characteristics in females). Also called arrhenoblastoma and Sertoli-Leydig cell tumor of the ovary.

androgen

A type of hormone that promotes the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics.

androgen ablation

Treatment to suppress or block the production or action of male hormones. This is done by having the testicles removed, by taking female sex hormones, or by taking drugs called antiandrogens. Also called androgen deprivation and androgen suppression.

androgen deprivation

Treatment to suppress or block the production or action of male hormones. This is done by having the testicles removed, by taking female sex hormones, or by taking drugs called antiandrogens. Also called androgen ablation and androgen suppression.

androgen receptor positive

Describes cells that have a protein that binds to androgens (male hormones). Cancer cells that are androgen receptor positive may need androgens to grow. These cells may stop growing or die when they are treated with substances that block the binding and actions of androgen hormones. Also called AR+.

androgen suppression

Treatment to suppress or block the production or action of male hormones. This is done by having the testicles removed, by taking female sex hormones, or by taking drugs called antiandrogens. Also called androgen ablation and androgen deprivation.

androgen-independent

Describes the ability of tumor cells to grow in the absence of androgens (hormones that promote the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics). Many early prostate cancers require androgens for growth, but advanced prostate cancers are often androgen-independent.

androstanolone

A hormone made from testosterone in the prostate, testes, and certain other tissues. It is needed to develop and maintain male sex characteristics, such as facial hair, deep voice, and muscle growth. High amounts of androstanolone may increase the growth of prostate cancer and make it harder to treat. Also called DHT and dihydrotestosterone.

anecdotal report

An incomplete description of the medical and treatment history of one or more patients. Anecdotal reports may be published in places other than peer-reviewed, scientific journals.

anemia

A condition in which the number of red blood cells is below normal.

anesthesia

A loss of feeling or awareness caused by drugs or other substances. Anesthesia keeps patients from feeling pain during surgery or other procedures. Local anesthesia is a loss of feeling in one small area of the body. Regional anesthesia is a loss of feeling in a part of the body, such as an arm or leg. General anesthesia is a loss of feeling and a complete loss of awareness that feels like a very deep sleep.

anesthesiologist

A doctor who specializes in giving drugs or other agents to prevent or relieve pain during surgery or other procedures being done in the hospital.

anesthetic

A drug or other substance that causes a loss of feeling or awareness. Local anesthetics cause a loss of feeling in one small area of the body. Regional anesthetics cause a loss of feeling in a part of the body, such as an arm or leg. General anesthetics cause a loss of feeling and a complete loss of awareness that feels like a very deep sleep.

anetholtrithione

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

angelica root

The root of any of a group of herbs called Angelica. It has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems, including gastrointestinal problems such as loss of appetite, feelings of fullness, and gas.

Angiocept

A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. Angiocept may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called CT-322 and VEGFR-2 inhibitor CT-322.

angiogenesis

Blood vessel formation. Tumor angiogenesis is the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. This process is caused by the release of chemicals by the tumor and by host cells near the tumor.

angiogenesis inhibitor

A drug or substance that keeps new blood vessels from forming. In cancer treatment, angiogenesis inhibitors may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. Also called antiangiogenesis agent.

angiogram

An x-ray or computer image (CT scan or MRI) of the blood vessels and blood flow in the body. A dye may be injected through a catheter (small tube) into an artery or vein to make the blood vessels easier to see. An angiogram may be used to check for an aneurysm (a bulge in a blood vessel wall), blockages in arteries, blood clots, or other problems, such as a tumor.

angiography

A procedure to x-ray blood vessels. The blood vessels can be seen because of an injection of a dye that shows up in the x-ray.

angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma

An aggressive (fast-growing) type of T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma marked by enlarged lymph nodes and hypergammaglobulinemia (increased antibodies in the blood). Other symptoms may include a skin rash, fever, weight loss, or night sweats.

angiomyolipoma

A benign (noncancer) tumor of fat and muscle tissue that usually is found in the kidney. Angiomyolipomas rarely cause symptoms, but may bleed or grow large enough to be painful or cause kidney failure. They are common in patients with tuberous sclerosis (a genetic disorder in which benign tumors grow in the kidneys, brain, eyes, heart, lungs, and skin, causing seizures, mental problems, and skin lesions).

angioplasty

A procedure to enlarge the opening in a blood vessel that has become narrowed or blocked by plaque (a buildup of fat and cholesterol on the inner wall of the blood vessel). Examples of angioplasty are balloon angioplasty and laser angioplasty.

angiosarcoma

A type of cancer that begins in the cells that line blood vessels or lymph vessels. Cancer that begins in blood vessels is called hemangiosarcoma. Cancer that begins in lymph vessels is called lymphangiosarcoma.

angiostatin

A protein normally made by the body. It can also be made in the laboratory, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Angiostatin may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent.

angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor

A drug that is used to lower blood pressure. An angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor is a type of antihypertensive agent. Also called ACE inhibitor.

Angiozyme

A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. Angiozyme is a special type of RNA made in the laboratory. It stops a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) from being made. This may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of angiogenesis inhibitor and a type of ribozyme. Also called RPI.4610.

anhydrovinblastine

An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors.

anidulafungin

A drug that is used to treat infections caused by fungi. It belongs to the family of drugs called antifungals.

animal model

An animal with a disease either the same as or like a disease in humans. Animal models are used to study the development and progression of diseases and to test new treatments before they are given to humans. Animals with transplanted human cancers or other tissues are called xenograft models.

animal study

A laboratory experiment using animals to study the development and progression of diseases. Animal studies also test how safe and effective new treatments are before they are tested in people.

animal-assisted therapy

A type of therapy that uses dogs or other pets to improve the physical and mental health of patients with certain acute or chronic diseases. It is being studied as a way to relieve distress in cancer patients undergoing treatment for pain. Also called pet-facilitated therapy.

aniridia

A disorder in which a person is born without part or all of the iris (colored tissue at the front of the eyeball). Aniridia usually affects both eyes and causes other eye problems, including being sensitive to light and loss of vision.

ANLL

An aggressive (fast-growing) disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells that are not lymphoblasts) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, and AML.

annamycin

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called anthracycline antibiotics.

anorexia

An abnormal loss of the appetite for food. Anorexia can be caused by cancer, AIDS, a mental disorder (i.e., anorexia nervosa), or other diseases.

anorexia nervosa

An eating disorder marked by an intense fear of gaining weight, a refusal to maintain a healthy weight, and a distorted body image. People with anorexia nervosa have an abnormal loss of appetite for food, try to avoid eating, and eat as little as possible.

ANS

The part of the nervous system that controls muscles of internal organs (such as the heart, blood vessels, lungs, stomach, and intestines) and glands (such as salivary glands and sweat glands). One part of the ANS helps the body rest, relax, and digest food and another part helps a person fight or take flight in an emergency. Also called autonomic nervous system and involuntary nervous system.

ansamycin

An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antineoplastic antibiotics.

antagonist

In medicine, a substance that stops the action or effect of another substance. For example, a drug that blocks the stimulating effect of estrogen on a tumor cell is called an estrogen receptor antagonist.

antenatal

Having to do with the time a female is pregnant, before birth occurs. Also called prenatal.

anterior

In human anatomy, has to do with the front of a structure, or a structure found toward the front of the body.

anterior mediastinotomy

A procedure in which a tube is inserted into the chest to view the tissues and organs in the area between the lungs and between the breastbone and heart. The tube is inserted through an incision next to the breastbone. This procedure is usually used to get a tissue sample from the lymph nodes on the left side of the chest. Also called Chamberlain procedure.

anterior mediastinum

The area in the front part of the chest between the lungs. Also called prevascular space.

anterior pelvic exenteration

Surgery to remove the urethra, lower part of the ureters, uterus, cervix, vagina, and bladder.

anterior urethral cancer

A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the part of the urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body) that is closest to the outside of the body.

anthracenedione

An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called anticancer antibiotics.

anthracycline

A type of antibiotic that comes from certain types of Streptomyces bacteria. Anthracyclines are used to treat many types of cancer. Anthracyclines damage the DNA in cancer cells, causing them to die. Daunorubicin, doxorubicin, and epirubicin are anthracyclines.

anthraquinone

A type of anticancer drug.

anti-CCR2 monoclonal antibody MLN1202

A substance being studied as a treatment for atherosclerosis (a build-up of fat in the arteries). It is also being studied in the treatment of cancers that spread to the bone. Anti-CCR2 monoclonal antibody MLN1202 binds to a protein called CCR2, which is found on the surface of certain bone cells, white blood cells, and cancer cells. Anti-CCR2 monoclonal antibody MLN1202 blocks the action of a substance that is involved in keeping healthy bone mass. It may help keep the cancer cells from spreading to and growing in the bone. It is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called MLN1202.

anti-CD19 immunotoxin

A monoclonal antibody linked to a toxic substance. It is being studied in the treatment of some types of B-cell cancer. Anti-CD19 immunotoxin is made in the laboratory. It binds to CD19, a protein on the surface of normal B cells and B-cell tumors, and kills the cells.

anti-CD22 immunotoxin

A monoclonal antibody linked to a toxic substance. It is being studied in the treatment of some types of B-cell cancer. Anti-CD22 immunotoxin is made in the laboratory. It binds to CD22, a protein on the surface of normal B cells and B-cell tumors, and kills the cells.

anti-CD22 immunotoxin CAT-8015

A monoclonal antibody linked to a toxic substance. It is being studied in the treatment of some types of B-cell cancer. Anti-CD22 immunotoxin CAT-8015 is made in the laboratory. It binds to CD22, a protein on the surface of normal B cells and B-cell tumors, and kills the cells. Also called CAT-8015.

anti-CD45 monoclonal antibody

A monoclonal antibody being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Anti-CD45 monoclonal antibody binds to members of a family of proteins called CD45. Certain CD45 proteins are found on the surface of most types of blood cells, and some types of leukemia and lymphoma cells.

anti-CEA antibody

An antibody against carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), a protein present on certain types of cancer cells.

anti-EpCAM-Pseudomonas-exotoxin fusion protein

A substance being studied in the treatment of certain types of head and neck cancer. Anti-EpCAM-Pseudomonas-exotoxin fusion protein is made by linking a monoclonal antibody fragment to a toxic protein that may kill cancer cells. It binds to EpCAM (a protein on the surface of epithelial cells and some types of cancer cells). Also called Proxinium and VB4-845.

anti-HGF monoclonal antibody AMG 102

A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It binds to a protein called hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), which may cause cancer cells to grow. Blocking this may cause cancer cells to die. Anti-HGF monoclonal antibody AMG 102 is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called AMG 102.

anti-idiotype vaccine

A vaccine made of antibodies that see other antibodies as the antigen and bind to it. Anti-idiotype vaccines can stimulate the body to produce antibodies against tumor cells.

anti-IGF1R recombinant monoclonal antibody MK-0646

A substance being studied in the treatment of many types of cancer. Anti-IGF1R recombinant monoclonal antibody MK-0646 binds to a protein called insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGFR) on the surface of cells. This may prevent the cells from growing when IGF is present. It may also kill cancer cells. Anti-IGF1R recombinant monoclonal antibody MK-0646 is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called MK-0646.

anti-IL-6 chimeric monoclonal antibody

A chimeric (made from human and mouse proteins) monoclonal antibody being studied in the treatment of advanced kidney cancer and other types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Anti-IL-6 chimeric monoclonal antibody works by blocking inflammation and tumor growth. Also called cCLB8 and CNTO 328.

anti-inflammatory

Having to do with reducing inflammation.

anti-mesothelin monoclonal antibody MORAb-009

A monoclonal antibody being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Anti-mesothelin monoclonal antibody MORAb-009 binds to mesothelin (a protein that is made by some cancer cells) and stops the cells from dividing. Also called MORAb-009.

anti-PDGFR alpha monoclonal antibody IMC-3G3

A substance being studied in the treatment of glioblastoma (a type of brain tumor) that has come back. It binds to receptors for a protein called platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). This keeps PDGF from binding to the cells. This may stop the growth of cancer cells and blood vessels that have the receptors for PDGF. It is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called anti-platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha monoclonal antibody IMC-3G3 and IMC-3G3.

anti-platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha monoclonal antibody IMC-3G3

A substance being studied in the treatment of glioblastoma (a type of brain tumor) that has come back. It binds to receptors for a protein called platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). This keeps PDGF from binding to the cells. This may stop the growth of cancer cells and blood vessels that have the receptors for PDGF. It is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called anti-PDGFR alpha monoclonal antibody IMC-3G3 and IMC-3G3.

anti-TGF-beta monoclonal antibody GC1008

A monoclonal antibody being studied in the treatment of kidney cancer, melanoma, and pulmonary fibrosis. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Anti-TGF-beta monoclonal antibody GC1008 binds to the protein transforming growth factor-beta (TGF

anti-TRAIL R1-mAb

A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It binds to a protein called TRAIL R1 on the surface of some tumor cells. This may kill the tumor cells. Anti-TRAIL R1-mAb is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called HGS-ETR1 and mapatumumab.

anti-TRAIL R2 mAb HGS-ETR2

A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It binds to a protein called TRAIL-R2 on the surface of some tumor cells, which may kill the tumor cells. Anti-TRAIL R2 mAb HGS-ETR2 is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called HGS-ETR2 and lexatumumab.

anti-VEGFR monoclonal antibody

A monoclonal antibody being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Anti-VEGFR monoclonal antibodies bind to receptors for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and keeps VEGF from binding to them. This may stop the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent.

anti-VEGFR-2 fully human monoclonal antibody IMC-1121B

A substance being studied in the treatment of breast cancer that has come back. It binds to receptors for a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This keeps VEGF from binding to the receptors and may stop the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent and a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called IMC-1121B and ramucirumab.

antiandrogen

A substance that keeps androgens (male hormones) from binding to proteins called androgen receptors, which can be found in prostate cells and cells of some other tissues. Treatment with antiandrogens may stop prostate cancer cells from growing. Examples of antiandrogens used to treat prostate cancer are flutamide, bicalutamide, enzalutamide, and nilutamide.

antiandrogen therapy

Treatment with drugs used to block production or interfere with the action of male sex hormones.

antiangiogenesis

Prevention of the growth of new blood vessels.

antiangiogenesis agent

A drug or substance that keeps new blood vessels from forming. In cancer treatment, antiangiogenesis agents may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. Also called angiogenesis inhibitor.

antiangiogenic

Having to do with reducing the growth of new blood vessels.

antianxiety agent

A drug used to treat symptoms of anxiety, such as feelings of fear, dread, uneasiness, and muscle tightness, that may occur as a reaction to stress. Most antianxiety agents block the action of certain chemicals in the nervous system. Also called anxiolytic and anxiolytic agent.

antiapoptotic

Something that prevents apoptosis. Apoptosis is a type of cell death in which a series of molecular steps in a cell leads to its death.

antibacterial

A substance that kills bacteria or stops them from growing and causing disease.

antibiotic

A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria and other microorganisms.

antibody

A protein made by plasma cells (a type of white blood cell) in response to an antigen (a substance that causes the body to make a specific immune response). Each antibody can bind to only one specific antigen. The purpose of this binding is to help destroy the antigen. Some antibodies destroy antigens directly. Others make it easier for white blood cells to destroy the antigen. An antibody is a type of immunoglobulin.

antibody therapy

Treatment with an antibody, a substance that can directly kill specific tumor cells or stimulate the immune system to kill tumor cells.

antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity

A type of immune reaction in which a target cell or microbe is coated with antibodies and killed by certain types of white blood cells. The white blood cells bind to the antibodies and release substances that kill the target cells or microbes. Also called ADCC and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity.

antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity

A type of immune reaction in which a target cell or microbe is coated with antibodies and killed by certain types of white blood cells. The white blood cells bind to the antibodies and release substances that kill the target cells or microbes. Also called ADCC and antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity.

anticachexia

Describes a drug or effect that works against cachexia (loss of body weight and muscle mass).

anticancer antibiotic

A type of anticancer drug that blocks cell growth by interfering with DNA, the genetic material in cells. Also called antineoplastic antibiotic and antitumor antibiotic.

anticancer therapy

Treatment to stop or prevent cancer.

anticarcinogenic

Having to do with preventing or delaying the development of cancer.

anticoagulant

A substance that is used to prevent and treat blood clots in blood vessels and the heart. Also called blood thinner.

anticonvulsant

A drug or other substance used to prevent or stop seizures or convulsions. Also called antiepileptic.

antidepressant

A drug used to treat depression.

antidiarrheal

A substance used to treat diarrhea (frequent and watery bowel movements).

antiemetic

A drug that prevents or reduces nausea and vomiting.

antiepileptic

A drug or other substance used to prevent or stop seizures or convulsions. Also called anticonvulsant.

antiestrogen

A substance that keeps cells from making or using estrogen (a hormone that plays a role in female sex characteristics, the menstrual cycle, and pregnancy). Antiestrogens may stop some cancer cells from growing and are used to prevent and treat breast cancer. They are also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. An antiestrogen is a type of hormone antagonist. Also called estrogen blocker.

antifolate

A type of drug that stops cells from using folic acid to make DNA and may kill cancer cells. Certain antifolates are used to treat some types of cancer and inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Also called folate antagonist and folic acid antagonist.

antifungal

A drug that treats infections caused by fungi.

antigen

Any substance that causes the body to make a specific immune response.

antigen-presenting cell

A type of immune cell that boosts immune responses by showing antigens on its surface to other cells of the immune system. An antigen-presenting cell is a type of phagocyte. Also called APC.

antigen-presenting cell vaccine

A vaccine made of antigens and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). APCs boost an immune response by presenting antigens on their surfaces to other cells of the immune system. Also called APC vaccine.

antiglobulin test

A laboratory test to identify antibodies that can bind to the surface of red blood cells or platelets and destroy them. This test is used to diagnose certain blood disorders in which patients make antibodies to their own red blood cells or platelets. It is also used to determine blood type. Also called Coombs' test.

antihistamine

A type of drug that blocks the action of histamines, which can cause fever, itching, sneezing, a runny nose, and watery eyes. Antihistamines are used to prevent fevers in patients receiving blood transfusions and to treat allergies, coughs, and colds.

antihormone therapy

Treatment with drugs, surgery, or radiation in order to block the production or action of a hormone. Antihormone therapy may be used in cancer treatment because certain hormones are able to stimulate the growth of some types of tumors.

antilymphocyte globulin

Serum from blood that contains antibodies that bind to human T cells. Antilymphocyte globulin is given to a patient before a stem cell transplant to kill T cells and lower the risk of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). It is also used to treat GVHD and after a kidney transplant to help keep the body from rejecting the kidney. Also called antithymocyte globulin.

antimetabolite

A drug that is very similar to natural chemicals in a normal biochemical reaction in cells but different enough to interfere with the normal division and functions of cells.

antimicrobial

A substance that kills microorganisms such as bacteria or mold, or stops them from growing and causing disease.

antimicrotubule agent

A type of drug that blocks cell growth by stopping mitosis (cell division). Antimicrotubule agents interfere with microtubules (cellular structures that help move chromosomes during mitosis). They are used to treat cancer.

antimitotic agent

A type of drug that blocks cell growth by stopping mitosis (cell division). They are used to treat cancer. Also called mitotic inhibitor.

antineoplastic

Blocking the formation of neoplasms (growths that may become cancer).

antineoplastic antibiotic

A type of anticancer drug that blocks cell growth by interfering with DNA, the genetic material in cells. Also called anticancer antibiotic and antitumor antibiotic.

antineoplaston

A substance isolated from normal human blood and urine that is being tested as a type of treatment for some tumors and AIDS.

antioncogene

A type of gene that makes a protein called a tumor suppressor protein that helps control cell growth. Mutations (changes in DNA) in antioncogenes may lead to cancer. Also called tumor suppressor gene.

antioxidant

A substance that protects cells from the damage caused by free radicals (unstable molecules made by the process of oxidation during normal metabolism). Free radicals may play a part in cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other diseases of aging. Antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamins A, C, and E, and other natural and manufactured substances.

antiparasitic

A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria and parasites. It is also used in the treatment of some cancers.

antiprogestin

A substance that prevents cells from making or using progesterone (a hormone that plays a role in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy). Antiprogestins may stop some cancer cells from growing and they are being studied in the treatment of breast cancer. An antiprogestin is a type of hormone antagonist.

antipsychotic

A type of drug used to treat symptoms of psychosis. These include hallucinations (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or touches that a person believes to be real but are not real), delusions (false beliefs), and dementia (loss of the ability to think, remember, learn, make decisions, and solve problems). Most antipsychotics block the action of certain chemicals in the nervous system. Also called antipsychotic agent and neuroleptic agent.

antipsychotic agent

A type of drug used to treat symptoms of psychosis. These include hallucinations (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or touches that a person believes to be real but are not real), delusions (false beliefs), and dementia (loss of the ability to think, remember, learn, make decisions, and solve problems). Most antipsychotic agents block the action of certain chemicals in the nervous system. Also called antipsychotic and neuroleptic agent.

antiretroviral therapy

Treatment with drugs that inhibit the ability of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or other types of retroviruses to multiply in the body.

antisense agent

Small pieces of DNA or RNA that can bind to specific molecules of RNA. This blocks the ability of the RNA to make a protein or work in other ways. Antisense agents may be used to block the production of proteins needed for cell growth. They are being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. Also called antisense oligonucleotide.

antisense c-fos

A substance that has been studied in the treatment of cancer and is being studied in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and certain skin conditions. It blocks the production of a protein called c-fos, which helps control cell growth. This may kill cancer cells that need c-fos to grow. It is a type of antisense oligonucleotide. Also called c-fos antisense oligonucleotide.

antisense DNA

Small pieces of DNA that can bind to specific molecules of RNA and block the cell

antisense oligonucleotide

Small pieces of DNA or RNA that can bind to specific molecules of RNA. This blocks the ability of the RNA to make a protein or work in other ways. Antisense oligonucleotides may be used to block the production of proteins needed for cell growth. They are being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. Also called antisense agent.

antisense oligonucleotide therapy

Treatment with antisense oligonucleotides. These are small pieces of DNA or RNA that can bind to specific molecules of RNA. This blocks the cell

antisense RNA

Small pieces of RNA that can bind to specific molecules of RNA and block the cell

antisense therapy

Treatment with antisense oligonucleotides. These are small pieces of DNA or RNA that can bind to specific molecules of RNA. This blocks the cell

antisocial

Describes behavior that ignores the rights of others and the practices and laws of society.

antithymocyte globulin

Serum from blood that contains antibodies that bind to human T cells. Antithymocyte globulin is given to a patient before a stem cell transplant to kill T cells and lower the risk of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). It is also used to treat GVHD and after a kidney transplant to help keep the body from rejecting the kidney. Also called antilymphocyte globulin.

antituberculosis

Describes a drug or effect that works against tuberculosis (a contagious bacterial infection that usually affects the lungs).

antitumor

Having to do with stopping abnormal cell growth.

antitumor antibiotic

A type of anticancer drug that blocks cell growth by interfering with DNA, the genetic material in cells. Also called anticancer antibiotic and antineoplastic antibiotic.

antiviral

A drug used to treat infections caused by viruses.

anus

The opening of the rectum to the outside of the body.

anxiety

Feelings of fear, dread, and uneasiness that may occur as a reaction to stress. A person with anxiety may sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heart beat. Extreme anxiety that happens often over time may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

anxiolysis

A level of sedation in which a person is very relaxed and may be awake. The person is able to answer questions and follow instructions. Anxiolysis is caused by special drugs and is used to help relieve anxiety during certain medical or surgical procedures. Also called minimal sedation.

anxiolytic

A drug used to treat symptoms of anxiety, such as feelings of fear, dread, uneasiness, and muscle tightness, that may occur as a reaction to stress. Most anxiolytics block the action of certain chemicals in the nervous system. Also called antianxiety agent and anxiolytic agent.

anxiolytic agent

A drug used to treat symptoms of anxiety, such as feelings of fear, dread, uneasiness, and muscle tightness, that may occur as a reaction to stress. Most anxiolytic agents block the action of certain chemicals in the nervous system. Also called antianxiety agent and anxiolytic.

Anzemet

A drug used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It is also used to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery. Anzemet blocks the action of the chemical serotonin, which binds to certain nerves and may trigger nausea and vomiting. Blocking serotonin may help lessen nausea and vomiting. It is a type of serotonin receptor antagonist and a type of antiemetic. Also called dolasetron mesylate.

aorta

The largest artery in the body. It carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to vessels that reach the rest of the body.

aortocoronary bypass

Surgery in which a healthy blood vessel taken from another part of the body is used to make a new path for blood around a blocked artery leading to the heart. This restores the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the heart. Also called CAB and coronary artery bypass.

AP23573

A substance being studied in the treatment of soft tissue and bone cancers. It is also being studied in the treatment of other solid tumors and hematologic cancer. AP23573 stops cells from dividing and may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of mTOR inhibitor. Also called ridaforolimus.

AP5346

A substance being studied in the treatment of head and neck cancer. It may kill cancer cells by carrying an anticancer drug into the tumor. It is a type of platinum compound.

APC

A type of immune cell that boosts immune responses by showing antigens on its surface to other cells of the immune system. An APC is a type of phagocyte. Also called antigen-presenting cell.

APC vaccine

A vaccine made of antigens and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). APCs boost an immune response by presenting antigens on their surfaces to other cells of the immune system. Also called antigen-presenting cell vaccine.

APC8015

A drug used to treat prostate cancer that has spread. It is made from immune system cells collected from a patient with prostate cancer. The cells are treated with a protein that is made by combining a protein found on prostate cancer cells with a growth factor. When the cells are injected back into the patient, they may stimulate T cells to kill prostate cancer cells. APC8015 is a type of vaccine and a type of cellular adoptive immunotherapy. Also called Provenge and sipuleucel-T.

APC8015F

A vaccine made from immune system cells taken from a patient with prostate cancer and frozen for future use. The cells are treated in the laboratory with a growth factor attached to a protein called prostatic-acid phosphatase (PAP), which is found on prostate cancer cells. When APC8015F is injected into the patient, it may cause T cells (a type of white blood cell) to kill tumor cells that have PAP on them.

apheresis

A procedure in which blood is collected, part of the blood such as platelets or white blood cells is taken out, and the rest of the blood is returned to the donor. Also called pheresis.

Apidra

A drug used to control the amount of sugar in the blood of patients with diabetes mellitus. It is a form of the hormone insulin that is made in the laboratory. Apidra gets into the blood faster than insulin when it is injected under the skin before or shortly after a meal. It is a type of therapeutic insulin. Also called insulin glulisine.

APL

An aggressive (fast-growing) type of acute myeloid leukemia in which there are too many immature blood-forming cells in the blood and bone marrow. It is usually marked by an exchange of parts of chromosomes 15 and 17. Also called acute promyelocytic leukemia and promyelocytic leukemia.

aplastic anemia

A condition in which the bone marrow is unable to produce blood cells.

aplidine

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is obtained from a marine organism.

APN

A registered nurse who has additional education and training in how to diagnose and treat disease. APNs are licensed at the state level and certified by national nursing organizations. In cancer care, an APN may manage the primary care of patients and their families, based on a practice agreement with a doctor. Also called advanced practice nurse, NP, and nurse practitioner.

Apo-2L

A cell protein that can attach to certain molecules in some cancer cells and may kill the cells. Apo-2L is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand, TRAIL, and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand.

apocrine gland

A type of gland that is found in the skin, breast, eyelid, and ear. Apocrine glands in the breast secrete fat droplets into breast milk and those in the ear help form earwax. Apocrine glands in the skin and eyelid are sweat glands. Most apocrine glands in the skin are in the armpits, the groin, and the area around the nipples of the breast. Apocrine glands in the skin are scent glands, and their secretions usually have an odor. Another type of gland (eccrine gland or simple sweat gland) produces most sweat.

apolizumab

A substance being studied in the treatment of hematologic (blood) cancers. Apolizumab binds to a protein called ID10, which is found on the surface of some types of immune cells and cancer cells. It may help the immune system kill cancer cells. It is a type of monoclonal antibody.

apoptosis

A type of cell death in which a series of molecular steps in a cell lead to its death. This is one method the body uses to get rid of unneeded or abnormal cells. The process of apoptosis may be blocked in cancer cells. Also called programmed cell death.

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