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abdomen (AB-do-men): The part 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.

acetaminophen: A drug that reduces pain and fever (but not inflammation).

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-acetylcysteine.

achlorhydria (a-klor-HY-dree-a): A lack of hydrochloric acid in the digestive juices in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid helps digest food.

acne: A disorder of the skin marked by inflammation of oil glands and hair glands.

acoustic (ah-KOOS-tik): Having to do with sound or hearing.

actinic keratosis (ak-TIN-ik ker-a-TOE-sis): A precancerous condition of thick, scaly patches of skin. Also called solar or senile keratosis.

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

acupressure: The application of pressure or localized massage to specific sites on the body to control symptoms such as pain or nausea. Also used to stop bleeding.

acupuncture: The technique of inserting thin needles through the skin at specific points on the body to control pain and other symptoms.

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

acute: Having the abrupt onset of symptoms and a short course; not chronic.

acute leukemia: A rapidly progressing cancer of the blood-forming tissue (bone marrow).

acute lymphocytic leukemia: ALL. A quickly progressing disease in which too many immature white blood cells called lymphoblasts are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

acute myelogenous leukemia: AML. A quickly progressing disease in which too many immature blood-forming cells are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute myeloid leukemia or acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.

acute nonlymphocytic leukemia: A quickly progressing disease in which too many immature blood-forming cells are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute myeloid leukemia or acute myelogenous leukemia.

acyclovir: An antiviral agent used to prevent or treat cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex infections that may occur when the body is immunosuppressed.

adenocarcinoma (AD-in-o-kar-sin-O-ma): Cancer that begins in cells that line certain internal organs and that have glandular (secretory) properties.

adenoma (ad-in-O-ma): A noncancerous tumor.

adenopathy (ad-en-OP-a-thee): Large or swollen lymph glands.

adenovirus: A group of viruses that cause respiratory tract and eye infections. Adenoviruses used in gene therapy are altered to carry a specific tumor-fighting gene.

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

adjuvant therapy (AD-joo-vant): Treatment given after the primary treatment to increase the chances of a cure. Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy.

adrenal glands (ah-DREE-nal): A pair of small glands, one located on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands produce sex hormones and hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, the way the body uses food, and other vital functions.

adrenaline: A hormone. Also called epinephrine.

adverse effect: An unwanted side effect of treatment.

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

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

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

aflatoxins (AF-la-TOK-sins): Substances made by a fungus that is often found on poorly stored grains and nuts. Aflatoxins have been implicated as a factor in the etiology of primary liver cancer.

AFP: Alpha-fetoprotein. A protein normally produced by a developing fetus. AFP levels are usually undetectable in the blood of healthy nonpregnant adults. An elevated level of AFP suggests the presence of either a primary liver cancer or germ cell tumor.

AG3340: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. AG3340 is a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor. Also called prinomastat.

aggressive: A quickly growing cancer.

agonists: Drugs that trigger an action from a cell or another drug.

AIDS: Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. An acquired defect in immune system function caused by human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1). AIDS is associated with increased susceptibility to certain cancers and to opportunistic infections, which are infections that occur rarely except in individuals with weak immune systems.

aldesleukin: A colony-stimulating factor that stimulates the production of blood cells, especially platelets, during chemotherapy. It is a cytokine that belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic (blood forming) agents. Also called interleukin-2 or IL-2.

alendronate sodium: A drug that affects bone metabolism. It is used in treating osteoporosis and Paget's disease, and is being studied in the treatment of hypercalcemia (abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood) and in treating and reducing the risk of bone pain caused by cancer. Alendronate sodium belongs to the family of drugs called bisphosphonates.

alkaloid: A member of a large group of chemicals that are made by plants and have nitrogen in them. Some alkaloids have been shown to work against cancer.

alkylating agents: A family of anticancer drugs that interferes with the cell's DNA and inhibits cancer cell growth.

allogeneic: Taken from different individuals of the same species.

allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (AL-o-jen-AY-ik): A procedure in which a person receives stem cells, the cells from which all blood cells develop, from a compatible, though not genetically identical, donor.

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 compound used for immunotherapy.

alpha-fetoprotein (AL-fa-FEE-toe-PRO-teen): AFP. A protein normally produced by a developing fetus. AFP levels are usually undetectable in the blood of healthy nonpregnant adults. An elevated level of AFP suggests the presence of either a primary liver cancer or germ cell tumor.

alternative medicine: Practices not generally recognized by the medical community as standard or conventional medical approaches and used instead of standard treatments. Alternative medicine includes the taking of dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, and herbal preparations; the drinking of special teas; and practices such as massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation.

alum: A type of immune adjuvant (a substance used to help boost the immune response to a vaccine). Also called aluminum sulfate.

ALVAC-CEA vaccine: A cancer vaccine containing a canary pox virus (ALVAC) combined with the human carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) gene.

alveoli (al-VEE-o-lye): Tiny air sacs at the end of the bronchioles in the lungs.

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

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

amino acid sequence: 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 type of protein are determined by the kinds of amino acids used to make it and how they are arranged.

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 or testosterone) and suppress the growth of tumors that need sex hormones to grow.

aminolevulinic acid: A drug used in photodynamic therapy that is absorbed by tumor cells; when exposed to light, it becomes active and kills the cancer cells.

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

amoxicillin: An antibiotic drug used to treat infection. It belongs to the family of drugs called penicillins or penicillin derivatives.

amphotericin B: An antifungal drug used to treat infection.

amputation (am-pyoo-TAY-shun): Surgery to remove part or all of a limb or appendage.

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

amylase (AM-il-aze): An enzyme that helps the body digest starches.

amyloidosis: A group of diseases in which protein is deposited in specific organs (localized amyloidosis) or throughout the body (systemic amyloidosis). Amyloidosis may be either primary (with no known cause) or secondary (caused by another disease, including some types of cancer). Generally, primary amyloidosis affects the nerves, skin, tongue, joints, heart, and liver; secondary amyloidosis often affects the spleen, kidneys, liver, and adrenal glands.

anal: Having to do with the anus, which is the posterior opening of the large bowel.

analgesics: Drugs that reduce pain. These drugs include aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.

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

anaplastic (an-ah-PLAS-tik): A term used to describe cancer cells that divide rapidly and bear little or no resemblance to normal cells.

anastomosis (an-AS-ta-MO-sis): 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 belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors. Anastrozole is used to decrease estrogen production and suppress the growth of tumors that need estrogen to grow.

androgen suppression: Treatment to suppress or block the production of male hormones. Androgen suppression is achieved by surgical removal of the testicles, by taking female sex hormones, or by taking other drugs. Also called androgen ablation.

androgens (AN-dro-jens): A family of hormones that promote the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics.

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-NEE-mee-a): A condition in which the number of red blood cells is below normal.

anesthesia (an-es-THEE-zha): Loss of feeling or awareness. Local anesthetics cause loss of feeling in a part of the body. General anesthetics put the person to sleep.

anesthetics (an-es-THET-iks): Substances that cause loss of feeling or awareness. Local anesthetics cause loss of feeling in a part of the body. General anesthetics put the person to sleep.

anetholtrithione: A drug that may reduce the risk of development or progression 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. Angelica root may have anticancer effects.

angiogenesis (an-gee-o-GEN-eh-sis): Blood vessel formation. Tumor angiogenesis is the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to a solid tumor. This is caused by the release of chemicals by the tumor.

angiogenesis inhibitor: A substance that may prevent the formation of blood vessels. In anticancer therapy, an angiogenesis inhibitor prevents the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to a solid tumor.

angiogram (AN-jee-o-gram): An x-ray of blood vessels; the person receives an injection of dye to outline the vessels on the x-ray.

angiography (an-jee-AH-gra-fee): 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 pictures.

angiosarcoma (AN-jee-o-sar-KO-ma): A type of cancer that begins in the lining of blood vessels.

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

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.

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.

ansamycins: A group of anticancer drugs that belongs to the family of drugs called antineoplastic antibiotics.

anterior mediastinotomy (MEE-dee-a-stin-AH-toe-mee): 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 spine. 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 the Chamberlain procedure.

anthracenediones: A subgroup of the family of anticancer drugs called anticancer antibiotics.

anthracycline: A member of a family of anticancer drugs that are also antibiotics.

anthraquinones: A family of anticancer drugs.

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

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-inflammatory: Having to do with reducing inflammation.

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

antiandrogens (an-tee-AN-dro-jens): Drugs used to block the production or interfere with the action of male sex hormones.

antiangiogenesis: Prevention of the growth of new blood vessels.

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

antibiotic (an-tih-by-AH-tik): A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria and other microorganisms.

antibody (AN-tih-BOD-ee): A type of protein made by certain white blood cells in response to a foreign substance (antigen). Each antibody can bind to only a specific antigen. The purpose of this binding is to help destroy the antigen. Antibodies can work in several ways, depending on the nature of the antigen. Some antibodies destroy antigens directly. Others make it easier for white blood cells to destroy the antigen.

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

anticachexia: Refers to a drug used to treat cachexia.

anticancer antibiotics: A group of anticancer drugs that block cell growth by interfering with DNA, the genetic material in cells. Also called antitumor antibiotics or antineoplastic antibiotics.

anticoagulant: A drug that helps prevent blood clots from forming. Also called a blood thinner.

anticonvulsants (an-tee-kon-VUL-sants): Drugs that prevent, reduce, or stop convulsions or seizures.

antidepressant: A drug used to treat depression.

antiemetics: Drugs that prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting.

antifungals: Drugs that treat infections caused by fungi.

antigen-presenting cell: APC. A cell that shows antigen on its surface to other cells of the immune system. This is an important part of an immune response.

antigen-presenting cell vaccine: A vaccine made of antigens and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Also called APC vaccine.

antigens: Substances that cause the immune system to make a specific immune response.

antimetabolite: A chemical that is very similar to one required in a normal biochemical reaction in cells. Antimetabolites can stop or slow down the reaction.

antimetastatic: Having to do with reducing inflammation.

antineoplastic antibiotics: A group of anticancer drugs that block cell growth by interfering with DNA, the genetic material in cells. Also called anticancer antibiotics or antitumor antibiotics.

antineoplastons: Substances isolated from normal human blood and urine being tested as a type of treatment for some tumors and AIDS.

antioxidant: A substance that prevents damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that often contain oxygen. They are produced when molecules are split to give products that have unpaired electrons. This process is called oxidation.

antiparasitics: Drugs used to treat bacterial and parasitic infections and some cancers.

antisense c-fos: Synthetic genetic material that may slow or stop the growth of cancer cells.

antithymocyte globulin (an-tee-THIGH-mo-site GLOB-yoo-lin): A protein used to reduce the risk of or to treat graft-versus-host disease.

antituberculosis: Refers to a drug used to treat tuberculosis.

antivirals: Drugs used to treat infections caused by viruses.

anus (AY-nus): The opening of the rectum to the outside of the body.

APC vaccine: A vaccine made of antigens and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Also called antigen-presenting cell vaccine.

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

aplidine: An anticancer drug obtained from a marine animal.

apoptosis (ap-o-TOE-sis): A normal series of events in a cell that leads to its death.

aqueous: Having to do with water.

areola (a-REE-o-la): The area of dark-colored skin on the breast that surrounds the nipple.

arginine butyrate: A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer.

aromatase inhibition (a-ROW-ma-tays in- hib-ISH-un): Prevention of the formation of estradiol, a female hormone, by interfering with an aromatase enzyme. Aromatase inhibition is a type of hormone therapy used in postmenopausal women who have hormone-dependent breast cancer.

arsenic trioxide: An anticancer drug that induces programmed cell death (apoptosis) in certain cancer cells.

arterial embolization (ar-TEE-ree-al EM-bo-lih-ZAY-shun): The blocking of an artery by a clot of foreign material. This can be done as treatment to block the flow of blood to a tumor.

arteriogram (ar-TEER-ee-o-gram): An x-ray of arteries; the person receives an injection of a dye that outlines the vessels on an x-ray.

arteriography (ar-TEE-ree-AH-gra-fee): A procedure to x-ray arteries. The arteries can be seen because of an injection of a dye that outlines the vessels on an x-ray.

arthritis: A disease marked by inflammation and pain in the joints.

asbestos (as-BES-tus): A natural material that is made up of tiny fibers. The fibers can cause cancer.

ascites (ah-SYE-teez): Abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen.

asparaginase: An anticancer drug that is an enzyme.

aspergillosis: An infectious fungal disease that occurs most often in the skin, ears, nasal sinuses, and lungs of people with suppressed immune systems.

aspirate (AS-pi-rit): Fluid withdrawn from a lump, often a cyst, or a nipple.

aspiration (as-per-AY-shun): Removal of fluid from a lump, often a cyst, with a needle and a syringe.

aspirin: A drug that reduces pain, fever, inflammation, and blood clotting. Aspirin belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents. It is also being studied in cancer prevention.

astrocytoma (as-tro-sye-TOE-mas): A tumor that begins in the brain or spinal cord in small, star-shaped cells called astrocytes.

asymptomatic: Having no signs or symptoms of disease.

atamestane: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antiestrogens. Atamestane blocks the production of the hormone estrogen in the body.

ataxia: Loss of muscle coordination.

ataxic gait (ah-TAK-sik): Awkward, uncoordinated walking.

atypical hyperplasia (hy-per-PLAY-zha): A benign (noncancerous) condition in which cells have abnormal features and are increased in number.

autoclave-resistant factor: A substance found in soybeans that may slow down or stop the spread of cancer. This substance does not break down in an autoclave (a device that uses high-pressure steam to kill microorganisms and clean medical equipment).

autoimmune disease: A condition in which the body recognizes its own tissues as foreign and directs an immune response against them.

autologous: Taken from an individual's own tissues, cells, or DNA.

autologous bone marrow transplantation (aw-TAHL-o-gus): A procedure in which bone marrow is removed from a person, stored, and then given back to the person after intensive treatment.

autologous lymphocytes: A person's white blood cells. Lymphocytes have a number of roles in the immune system, including the production of antibodies and other substances that fight infection and disease.

autologous tumor cells: Cancer cells from an individual's own tumor.

axilla (ak-SIL-a): The underarm or armpit.

axillary (AK-sil-air-ee): Pertaining to the armpit area, including the lymph nodes that are located there.

axillary dissection (AK-sil-air-ee): Surgery to remove lymph nodes found in the armpit region.

axillary lymph node dissection: Surgery to remove lymph nodes found in the armpit region.

axillary lymph nodes: Lymph nodes found in the armpit that drain the lymph channels from the breast.

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

B cells: White blood cells that develop from bone marrow and produce antibodies. Also called B lymphocytes.

B lymphocytes: White blood cells that make antibodies and are an important part of the immune system. B lymphocytes come from bone marrow. Also called B cells.

B3 antigen: A protein found on some tumor cells.

B43-BAP immunotoxin: A toxic substance linked to an antibody that attaches to tumor cells and kills them.

bacteria: A large group of single-cell microoganisms associated with infections and disease in animals and humans. The singular of bacteria is bacterium.

bacterial toxin: A toxic substance, made by bacteria, that can be modified to kill specific tumor cells without harming normal cells.

barbiturate: A drug with sedative and hypnotic effects. Barbiturates have been used as sedatives and anesthetics, and they have been used to treat the convulsions associated with epilepsy.

barium enema: A procedure in which a liquid with barium in it is put into the rectum and colon by way of the anus. Barium is a silver-white metallic compound that helps to show the image of the lower gastrointestinal tract on an x-ray.

barium solution: A liquid containing barium sulfate that is used in x-rays to highlight parts of the digestive system.

barium swallow: A series of x-rays of the esophagus. The x-ray pictures are taken after the person drinks a solution that contains barium. The barium coats and outlines the esophagus on the x-ray. Also called an esophagram.

basal cell carcinoma (BAY-sal sel kar-sin-O-ma): A type of skin cancer that arises from the basal cells, small round cells found in the lower part (or base) of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin.

basal cells (BAY-sal): Small, round cells found in the lower part (or base) of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin.

basophil: A type of white blood cell. Basophils are granulocytes.

batimastat: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. Batimastat is a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor.

BAY 12-9566: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

BCG vaccine: An anticancer drug (bacille calmette-Guerin) that activates the immune system. Filling the bladder with a solution of BCG is a form of biological therapy for superficial bladder cancer.

bcl-2 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide G3139: A drug that may kill cancer cells by blocking the production of a protein that makes cancer cells live longer.

beclomethasone: A drug being studied in the treatment of graft-versus-host disease. It is a corticosteroid analog.

benign (beh-NINE): Not cancerous; does not invade nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body.

benign prostatic hyperplasia (hye-per-PLAY-zha): A benign (noncancerous) condition in which an overgrowth of prostate tissue pushes against the urethra and the bladder, blocking the flow of urine. Also called benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH.

benign tumor (beh-NINE): A noncancerous growth that does not invade nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body.

benzoylphenylurea: A substance that is being studied as an anticancer drug. It belongs to the family of drugs called antitubulin agents. Also called BPU.

Beriplast P: A substance used in surgical wound healing to cause a blood clot to form. It consists of blood-clotting factors found naturally in human blood.

beta alethine: A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to a family of chemicals called disulfides.

beta carotene: A vitamin A precursor. Beta carotene belongs to the family of fat-soluble vitamins called carotenoids.

beta-endorphin: A neuropeptide that mediates pain perception.

beta-glucans: Complex compounds produced by several types of mushrooms. Beta-glucans have been used to treat patients with gastric cancer. They may have antibacterial, anticancer, antiparasitic, and antiviral effects.

bevacizumab: A monoclonal antibody that may prevent the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to a solid tumor.

bexarotene: An anticancer drug used to decrease the growth of some types of cancer cells. Also called LGD1069.

Biafine cream: A topical preparation to reduce the risk of, and treat skin reactions to, radiation therapy.

BIBX 1382: A drug that may inhibit tumor cells from multiplying. It is being studied for its ability to treat cancer.

bicalutamide: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antiandrogens.

bilateral: Affecting both the right and left side of body.

bilateral cancer: Cancer that occurs in both paired organs, such as both breasts or both ovaries.

bile: A fluid made by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Bile is excreted into the small intestine where it helps digest fat.

bile duct: A tube through which bile passes in and out of the liver.

biliary: Having to do with the liver, bile ducts, and/or gallbladder.

binding agent: A substance that makes a loose mixture stick together. For example, binding agents can be used to make solid pills from loose powders.

bioavailable: The ability of a drug or other substance to be absorbed and used by the body. Orally bioavailable means that a drug or other substance that is taken by mouth can be absorbed and used by the body.

biochanin A: An isoflavone found in soy products. Soy isoflavones are being studied to see if they help prevent cancer.

biochemical reactions: In living cells, chemical reactions that help sustain life and allow cells to grow.

biological response modifier (by-o-LAHJ-i-kul): BRM. A substance that stimulates the body's response to infection and disease.

biological therapy (by-o-LAHJ-i-kul): Treatment to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease. Also used to lessen side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Also known as immunotherapy, biotherapy, or biological response modifier (BRM) therapy.

biomarkers: Substances sometimes found in an increased amount in the blood, other body fluids, or tissues and that may suggest the presence of some types of cancer. Biomarkers include CA 125 (ovarian cancer), CA 15-3 (breast cancer), CEA (ovarian, lung, breast, pancreas, and GI tract cancers), and PSA (prostate cancer). Also called tumor markers.

Biomed 101: A substance that is being studied for its ability to decrease the side effects of interleukin-2 (IL-2).

biopsy (BY-ahp-see): The removal of cells or tissues for examination under a microscope. When only a sample of tissue is removed, the procedure is called an incisional biopsy or core biopsy. When an entire tumor or lesion is removed, the procedure is called an excisional biopsy. When a sample of tissue or fluid is removed with a needle, the procedure is called a needle biopsy or fine-needle aspiration.

biopsy specimen: Tissue removed from the body and examined under a microscope to determine whether disease is present.

bispecific antibodies: Antibodies developed in the laboratory to recognize more than one protein on the surface of different cells. Examples include bispecific antibodies 2B1, 520C9xH22, mDX-H210, and MDX447.

bizelesin: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents. It is also an antitumor antibiotic.

BL22 immunotoxin: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called bacterial immunotoxins. BL22 is a bacterial toxic substance linked to an antibody that attaches to tumor cells and kills them.

bladder: The organ that stores urine.

blasts: Immature blood cells.

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

blood transfusion: The administration of blood or blood products into a blood vessel.

blood-brain barrier: A network of blood vessels with closely spaced cells that makes it difficult for potentially toxic substances (such as anticancer drugs) to penetrate the blood vessel walls and enter the brain.

bolus: A single dose of drug usually injected into a blood vessel over a short period of time. Also called bolus infusion.

bolus infusion: A single dose of drug usually injected into a blood vessel over a short period of time. Also called bolus.

bone marrow: The soft, sponge-like tissue in the center of bones that produces white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

bone marrow ablation: The destruction of bone marrow using radiation or drugs.

bone marrow aspiration (as-per-AY-shun): The removal of a small sample of bone marrow (usually from the hip) through a needle for examination under a microscope.

bone marrow biopsy (BY-ahp-see): The removal of a sample of tissue from the bone marrow with a needle for examination under a microscope.

bone marrow metastases: Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the bone marrow.

bone marrow transplantation (trans-plan-TAY-shun): A procedure to replace bone marrow destroyed by treatment with high doses of anticancer drugs or radiation. Transplantation may be autologous (an individual's own marrow saved before treatment), allogeneic (marrow donated by someone else), or syngeneic (marrow donated by an identical twin).

bone metastases: Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the bone.

bone scan: A technique to create images of bones on a computer screen or on film. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into a blood vessel and travels through the bloodstream; it collects in the bones and is detected by a scanner.

boron neutron capture therapy: A type of radiation therapy. The person is given an intravenous infusion containing the element boron, which concentrates in the tumor cells. The person then receives radiation therapy with atomic particles called neutrons from a small research nuclear reactor. The radiation is absorbed by the boron, killing the tumor cells without harming normal cells.

bowel: The long tube-shaped organ in the abdomen that completes the process of digestion. There is both a small and a large bowel. Also called the intestine.

Bowen's disease (BO-uns disease): A skin disease marked by scaly or thickened patches on the skin, and often caused by prolonged exposure to arsenic. The patches often occur on sun- exposed areas of the skin and in older, white men. These patches may become malignant (cancerous). Also called precancerous dermatosis or precancerous dermatitis.

brachytherapy (BRAKE-ih-THER-a-pee): A procedure in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters is placed directly into or near a tumor. Also called internal radiation, implant radiation, or interstitial radiation therapy.

brain metastases: Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the brain.

brain stem: The part of the brain that is connected to the spinal cord.

brain stem tumor: A tumor in the part of the brain that connects to the spinal cord (the brain stem).

BRCA1: A gene located on chromosome 17 that normally helps to suppress cell growth. Inheriting an altered version of BRCA1 predisposes an individual to breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer.

BRCA2: A gene on chromosome 13 that normally helps to suppress cell growth. A person who inherits an altered version of the BRCA2 gene has a higher risk of getting breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer.

breast reconstruction: Surgery to rebuild a breast's shape after a mastectomy.

breast-conserving surgery: An operation to remove the breast cancer but not the breast itself. Types of breast-conserving surgery include lumpectomy (removal of the lump), quadrantectomy (removal of one quarter of the breast), and segmental mastectomy (removal of the cancer as well as some of the breast tissue around the tumor and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor).

Brief Pain Inventory: A questionnaire used to measure pain.

bromelain: An enzyme found in pineapples that breaks down other proteins, such as collagen and muscle fiber, and has anti-inflammatory properties. It is used as a meat tenderizer in the food industry.

bronchi (BRONK-eye): The large air passages that lead from the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs.

bronchioles (BRON-kee-olz): The tiny branches of air tubes in the lungs.

bronchitis (bron-KYE-tis): Inflammation (swelling and reddening) of the bronchi.

bronchoscope (BRON-ko-skope): A thin, lighted tube used to examine the inside of the trachea and bronchi, the air passages that lead into the lungs.

bronchoscopy (bron-KOS-ko-pee): A procedure in which a thin, lighted tube is inserted through the nose or mouth. This allows examination of the inside of the trachea and bronchi (air passages that lead to the lung), as well as the lung. Bronchoscopy may be used to detect cancer or to perform some treatment procedures.

bronchus: A large air passage that leads from the trachea (windpipe) to the lung.

broxuridine: A drug that makes cancer cells more sensitive to radiation and is also used as a diagnostic agent to determine how fast cancer cells grow.

bryostatin-1: A drug used for its antitumor activity.

buccal mucosa (BUK-ul myoo-KO-sa): The inner lining of the cheeks and lips.

budesonide: A steroid being studied as an anticancer drug. Budesonide is commonly used to treat asthma and rhinitis.

Burkitt's lymphoma: A type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that most often occurs in young people aged 12-30 years. The disease usually causes a rapidly growing tumor in the abdomen.

buserelin: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormones. In prostate cancer therapy, buserelin blocks the production of testosterone in the testicles.

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

buthionine sulfoximine: A drug that may help prevent resistance to some anticancer drugs.

bypass: A surgical procedure in which the doctor creates a new pathway for the flow of body fluids.

c-erbB-2: The gene that controls cell growth by making the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. Also called HER2/neu.

CA-125: Substance sometimes found in an increased amount in the blood, other body fluids, or tissues and that may suggest the presence of some types of cancer.

cachexia: The loss of body weight and muscle mass frequently seen in patients with cancer, AIDS, or other diseases.

calcitonin: A hormone secreted by the thyroid that lowers blood calcium levels.

calcitriol: A vitamin D analogue (a drug made in the laboratory that is chemically similar to vitamin D).

calcium (KAL-see-um): A mineral found in teeth, bones, and other body tissues.

calcium carbonate: A mineral taken primarily as a supplement to prevent osteoporosis. It is also being studied for cancer prevention.

caloric intake: Refers to the number of calories (energy content) consumed.

camphor: A substance that comes from the wood and bark of the camphor tree or is made in the laboratory. It has a very unique smell and taste and is used in commercial products (for example, mothballs). Camphor is used in topical anti-infective and anti-pruritic (anti-itching) agents.

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

camptothecin analogue: An anticancer drug related in structure to camptothecin, a topoisomerase inhibitor. One such drug is aminocamptothecin.

cancer: A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.

cancer of unknown primary origin: Cancer cells are found in the body, but the place where the cells first started growing (the origin or primary site) cannot be determined.

cancer vaccine: A vaccine designed to prevent or treat cancer.

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

capsaicin: A component of certain plants, including cayenne and red pepper, used topically for peripheral nerve pain. Also being studied for controlling mucositis pain after chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

captopril: A drug used to lower high blood pressure. It belongs to the family of drugs called ACE inhibitors.

carbendazim: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antifungal agents.

carbogen: An inhalant of oxygen and carbon dioxide that increases the sensitivity of tumor cells to the effects of radiation therapy.

carboplatin: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called platinum compounds.

carboxyamidotriazole: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

carboxypeptidase-G2: A bacterial enzyme that belongs to the family of drugs called chemoprotective agents. It is used to neutralize the toxic effects of methotrexate.

carcinoembryonic antigen peptide-1: CAP-1. A protein that can stimulate an immune response to certain tumors.

carcinogen (kar-SIN-o-jin): Any substance that causes cancer.

carcinogenesis: The process by which normal cells are transformed into cancer cells.

carcinoid (KAR-sin-oyd): A type of tumor usually found in the gastrointestinal system (most often in the appendix), and sometimes in the lungs or other sites. Carcinoid tumors are usually benign.

carcinoma (kar-sin-O-ma): Cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs.

carcinoma in situ (kar-sin-O-ma in SYE-too): Cancer that involves only the cells in which it began and has not spread to neighboring tissues.

carcinosarcoma: A malignant tumor that is a mixture of carcinoma (cancer of epithelial tissue, which is skin and tissue that lines or covers the internal organs) and sarcoma (cancer of connective tissue, such as bone, cartilage, and fat).

cardiac: Having to do with the heart.

cardiopulmonary: Having to do with the heart and lungs.

cardiotoxicity: Toxicity that affects the heart.

cardiovascular: Having to do with the heart and blood vessels.

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

carotenoids: Substance found in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables and in dark green, leafy vegetables. May reduce the risk of developing cancer.

cartilage (KAR-tih-lij): A type of connective tissue that contains cells (chondrocytes) surrounded by a tough but flexible matrix. The cartilage matrix is made of several types of the protein collagen and several types of proteoglycans, which are combinations of protein and long sugar molecules called glycosaminoglycans. Chondroitin sulfate is the major glycosaminoglycan in cartilage.

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

case report: A detailed report of the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of an individual patient. Case reports also contain some demographic information about the patient (for example, age, gender, ethnic origin).

case series: A group or series of case reports involving patients who were given similar treatment. Reports of case series usually contain detailed information about the individual patients. This includes demographic information (for example, age, gender, ethnic origin) and information on diagnosis, treatment, response to treatment, and follow-up after treatment.

caspofungin acetate: A drug used to prevent or treat infections caused by a fungus (a type of microorganism). It belongs to the family of drugs called antifungal agents.

castration: Removal or destruction of the testicles or ovaries using radiation, surgery, or drugs. Medical castration refers to the use of drugs to suppress the function of the ovaries or testicles.

CAT scan: A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. Also called computerized axial tomography, computed tomography (CT scan) or computerized tomography.

catheter (KATH-i-ter): A flexible tube used to deliver fluids into or withdraw fluids from the body.

cauterization (KAW-ter-ih-ZAY-shun): The destruction of tissue with a hot instrument, an electrical current, or a caustic substance.

CC-1088: A drug that is similar but not identical to thalidomide and is being studied as an anticancer drug. It belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

CC-49 monoclonal antibody: 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.

CCI-779: An anticancer drug that inhibits the growth of cancer cells by preventing cell division.

CD34 antigen: A protein found on the surface of some bone marrow and blood cells.

CEA: Carcinoembryonic antigen. A substance that is sometimes found in an increased amount in the blood of people with certain cancers.

CEA assay: A laboratory test to measure carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), a substance that is sometimes found in an increased amount in the blood of people who have certain cancers.

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

celecoxib: A drug that reduces pain. Celecoxib belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents. It is being studied for cancer prevention.

cell: The individual unit that makes up all of the tissues of the body. All living things are made up of one or more cells.

cell differentiation: The process during which young, immature (unspecialized) cells take on individual characteristics and reach their mature (specialized) form and function.

cell motility: The ability of a cell to move.

cell proliferation: An increase in the number of cells as a result of cell growth and cell division.

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

cellular adhesion: The close adherence (bonding) to adjoining cell surfaces.

cellular metabolism: The sum of all chemical changes that take place in a cell through which energy and basic components are provided for essential processes, including the synthesis of new molecules and the breakdown and removal of others.

central nervous system: CNS. The brain and spinal cord.

central venous access catheter: A tube surgically placed into a blood vessel for the purpose of giving intravenous fluid and drugs. It also can be used to obtain blood samples. This device avoids the need for separate needle insertions for each infusion.

CEP-2563 dihydrochloride: A growth factor antagonist that may stop tumor cells from growing.

cephalexin: An antibiotic drug that belongs to the family of drugs called cephalosporins.

cephalosporins: A family of antibiotic drugs that is used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections.

ceramide: A type of fat produced in the body. It may cause some types of cells to die, and is being studied in cancer treatment.

cerebellum (sair-uh-BELL-um): The portion of the brain in the back of the head between the cerebrum and the brain stem. The cerebellum controls balance for walking and standing, and other complex motor functions.

cerebral hemispheres (seh-REE-bral HEM-iss-feerz): The two halves of the cerebrum, the part of the brain that controls muscle functions of the body and also controls speech, emotions, reading, writing, and learning. The right hemisphere controls muscle movement on the left side of the body, and the left hemisphere controls muscle movement on the right side of the body.

cerebrospinal fluid (seh-REE-bro-SPY-nal): CSF. The fluid flowing around the brain and spinal cord. Cerebrospinal fluid is produced in the ventricles in the brain.

cerebrum (seh-REE-brum): The largest part of the brain. It is divided into two hemispheres, or halves, called the cerebral hemispheres. The cerebrum controls muscle functions of the body and also controls speech, emotions, reading, writing, and learning.

cervical: Relating to the neck, or to the neck of any organ or structure. Cervical lymph nodes are located in the neck; cervical cancer refers to cancer of the uterine cervix, which is the lower, narrow end (the "neck") of the uterus.

cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (SER-vih-kul in-tra-eh-pih-THEEL-ee-ul NEE-o-play-zha): CIN. A general term for the growth of abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix. Numbers from 1 to 3 may be used to describe how much of the cervix contains abnormal cells.

cervix (SER-viks): The lower, narrow end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and vagina.

cetuximab: A type of monoclonal antibody being studied as an anticancer drug. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells.

CGP 48664: An anticancer drug that may inhibit the growth of some tumors.

chemoembolization: A procedure in which the blood supply to the tumor is blocked surgically or mechanically, and anticancer drugs are administered directly into the tumor. This permits a higher concentration of drug to be in contact with the tumor for a longer period of time.

chemoprevention (KEE-mo-pre-VEN-shun): The use of drugs, vitamins, or other agents to try to reduce the risk of, or delay the development or recurrence of, cancer.

chemoprotective: A quality of some drugs used in cancer treatment. Chemoprotective agents protect healthy tissue from the toxic effects of anticancer drugs.

chemosensitivity assay: A laboratory test to analyze the responsiveness of a tumor to a specific drug.

chemosensitizer: A drug that makes tumor cells more sensitive to the effects of chemotherapy.

chemotherapeutic agent: A drug used to treat cancer.

chemotherapy (kee-mo-THER-a-pee): Treatment with anticancer drugs.

chest wall: The muscles, bones, and joints that make up the area of the body between the neck and the abdomen.

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

chloroquinoxaline sulfonamide: CQS. A substance that is being studied as an anticancer drug.

cholangiosarcoma (ko-LAN-jee-o-sar-KO-ma): A tumor of the connective tissues of the bile ducts.

chondrocytes: Cartilage cells. They make the structural components of cartilage.

chondroitin sulfate: The major glycosaminoglycan (a type of sugar molecule) in cartilage.

chromosome (KRO-mo-some): Part of a cell that contains genetic information. Except for sperm and eggs, all human cells contain 46 chromosomes.

chronic: A disease or condition that persists or progresses over a long period of time.

chronic leukemia (KRAHN-ik): A slowly progressing cancer of the blood-forming tissues.

chronic lymphocytic leukemia: A slowly progressing disease in which too many white blood cells (called lymphocytes) are found in the body.

chronic myelogenous leukemia: CML. A slowly progressing disease in which too many white blood cells are made in the bone marrow. Also called chronic myeloid leukemia or chronic granulocytic leukemia.

chronic myeloid leukemia: CML. A slowly progressing disease in which too many white blood cells are made in the bone marrow. Also called chronic myelogenous leukemia or chronic granulocytic leukemia.

CHS 828: A drug that is being studied as a treatment for solid tumors.

CI-958: A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called DNA-intercalating compounds.

CI-994: A substance that is being studied as an anticancer drug in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. Also called N-acetyldinaline.

cidofovir: A drug used to treat infection caused by viruses.

cimetidine: A drug usually used to treat stomach ulcers and heartburn. It is also commonly used in a regimen to prevent allergic reactions.

ciprofloxacin: An anti-infective drug that is also being studied in bladder cancer chemotherapy.

circulatory system: The system that contains the heart and the blood vessels and moves blood throughout the body. This system helps tissues get enough oxygen and nutrients, and it helps them get rid of waste products. The lymph system, which connects with the blood system, is often considered part of the circulatory system.

cirrhosis: A type of chronic, progressive liver disease.

cisplatin: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called platinum compounds.

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

clarithromycin: An antibiotic drug used to treat infection. It belongs to the family of drugs called macrolides.

clinical: Having to do with the examination and treatment of patients.

clinical resistance: The failure of a cancer to shrink after treatment.

clinical series: A case series in which the patients receive treatment in a clinic or other medical facility.

clinical study: A research study in which patients receive treatment in a clinic or other medical facility. Reports of clinical studies can contain results for single patients (case reports) or many patients (case series or clinical trials).

clinical trial: A research study that tests how well new medical treatments or other interventions work in people. Each study is designed to test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease.

clodronate: A drug used as treatment for hypercalcemia (abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood) and for cancer that has spread to the bone (bone metastases). It may decrease pain, the risk of fractures, and the development of new bone metastases.

CNS: Central nervous system. The brain and spinal cord.

CNS metastases: Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the central nervous system.

CNS prophylaxis (pro-fih-LAK-sis): Chemotherapy or radiation therapy given to the central nervous system (CNS) as a preventive treatment. It is given to kill cancer cells that may be in the brain and spinal cord, even though no cancer has been detected there.

CNS tumors: Tumors of the central nervous system, including brain stem glioma, craniopharyngioma, medulloblastoma, and meningioma.

co-trimoxazole: A combination of two anti-infection drugs, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. It is used to fight bacterial and protozoal infections.

coactivated T cells: T cells that have been coated with monoclonal antibodies to enhance their ability to kill tumor cells.

COL-3: An anticancer drug that may stop tumor growth by preventing the growth of new blood vessels into a solid tumor.

colectomy (ko-LEK-toe-mee): An operation to remove the colon. An open colectomy is the removal of the colon through a surgical incision made in the wall of the abdomen. Laparoscopic-assisted colectomy uses a thin, lighted tube attached to a video camera. It allows the surgeon to remove the colon without a large incision.

collagen: A fibrous protein found in cartilage and other connective tissue.

collagen disease: A term previously used to describe chronic diseases of the connective tissue (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and systemic sclerosis), but now is thought to be more appropriate for diseases associated with defects in collagen, which is a component of the connective tissue.

colon (KO-lun): The long, coiled, tubelike organ that removes water from digested food. The remaining material, solid waste called stool, moves through the colon to the rectum and leaves the body through the anus.

colon cancer: A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the colon.

colonoscope (ko-LAHN-o-skope): A thin, lighted tube used to examine the inside of the colon.

colonoscopy (ko-lun-AHS-ko-pee): An examination of the inside of the colon using a thin, lighted tube (called a colonoscope) inserted into the rectum. If abnormal areas are seen, tissue can be removed and examined under a microscope to determine whether disease is present.

colony-stimulating factors: Substances that stimulate the production of blood cells. Colony-stimulating factors include granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (also called G-CSF and filgrastim), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factors (also called GM-CSF and sargramostim), and promegapoietin.

colorectal (ko-lo-REK-tul): Having to do with the colon or the rectum.

colostomy (ko-LAHS-toe-mee): An opening into the colon from the outside of the body. A colostomy provides a new path for waste material to leave the body after part of the colon has been removed.

colposcope: A lighted magnifying instrument used for examination of the vagina and cervix.

colposcopy (kul-PAHS-ko-pee): Examination of the vagina and cervix using a lighted magnifying instrument called a colposcope.

combination chemotherapy: Treatment using more than one anticancer drug.

combretastatin A4 phosphate: An anticancer drug that reduces the blood supply to tumors; it is a tubulin-binding agent.

common bile duct: Carries bile from the liver and gallbladder into the duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine).

complementary and alternative medicine: CAM. Forms of treatment that are used in addition to (complementary) or instead of (alternative) standard treatments. These practices are not considered standard medical approaches. CAM includes dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation.

complementary medicine: Practices not generally recognized by the medical community as standard or conventional medical approaches and used to enhance or complement the standard treatments. Complementary medicine includes the taking of dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, and herbal preparations; the drinking of special teas; and practices such as massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation.

complete remission: The disappearance of all signs of cancer. Also called a complete response.

complete response: The disappearance of all signs of cancer in response to treatment. This does not always mean the cancer has been cured.

compression bandage: A bandage designed to provide pressure to a particular area.

computed tomography colography: A method under study to examine the colon by taking a series of x-rays (called a CT scan) and then using a high-powered computer to reconstruct 2-D and 3-D pictures of the interior surfaces of the colon from these x-rays. The pictures can be saved, manipulated to better viewing angles, and reviewed after the procedure, even years later. Also called virtual colonoscopy.

computerized axial tomography (com-PYEW-ter-ized AX-ee-al tuh-MAH-gra-fee): A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. Also called CAT scan, computed tomography (CT scan), or computerized tomography.

concurrent therapy: A treatment that is given at the same time as another.

conditioned stimulus: A situation in which one signal, or stimulus, is given just before another signal. After this happens several times, the first signal alone can cause the response that would usually need the second signal.

condylomata acuminata (kahn-dih-LO-ma-ta a-kyoo-mih-NA-ta): Genital warts caused by certain human papillomaviruses (HPVs).

congestive heart failure: Weakness of the heart muscle that leads to a buildup of fluid in body tissues.

conjunctiva: A membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and also covers the front part of the eye. Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva.

consolidation therapy: Chemotherapy treatments given after induction chemotherapy to further reduce the number of cancer cells.

continent reservoir (KAHN-tih-nent RES-er-vwar): A pouch formed from a piece of small intestine to hold urine after the bladder has been removed.

continuous hyperthermic peritoneal perfusion: CHPP. A procedure that bathes the abdominal cavity in fluid that contains anticancer drugs. This fluid is warmer than body temperature. This procedure appears to kill cancer cells without harming normal cells.

continuous infusion: The administration of a fluid into a blood vessel, usually over a prolonged period of time.

contralateral: Having to do with the opposite side of the body.

control group: In a clinical trial, the group that does not receive the new treatment being studied. This group is compared to the group that receives the new treatment, to see if the new treatment works.

controlled clinical trial: A clinical study that includes a comparison (control) group. The comparison group receives a placebo, another treatment, or no treatment at all.

controlled study: An experiment or clinical trial that includes a comparison (control) group.

conventional therapy: A currently accepted and widely used treatment for a certain type of disease, based on the results of past research. Also called conventional treatment.

conventional treatment: A currently accepted and widely used treatment for a certain type of disease, based on the results of past research. Also called conventional therapy.

cooperative group: A group of physicians, hospitals, or both formed to treat a large number of persons in the same way so that new treatment can be evaluated quickly. Clinical trials of new cancer treatments often require many more people than a single physician or hospital can care for.

cordycepin: An anticancer drug that belongs to a family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics.

core biopsy: The removal of a tissue sample with a needle for examination under a microscope.

cornea: The transparent part of the eye that covers the iris and the pupil and allows light to enter the inside.

corpus: The body of the uterus.

corticosteroids: Hormones that have antitumor activity in lymphomas and lymphoid leukemias; in addition, corticosteroids (steroids) may be used for hormone replacement and for the management of some of the complications of cancer and its treatment.

cortisone: A natural steroid hormone produced in the adrenal gland. It can also be made in the laboratory. Cortisone reduces swelling and can suppress immune responses.

Corynebacterium granulosum: A bacterium that may stimulate the immune system to fight cancer.

CP-609,754: A substance that is being studied as an anticancer drug.

craniopharyngioma (KRAY-nee-o-fah-rin-jee-O-ma): A benign brain tumor that may be considered malignant because it can damage the hypothalamus, the area of the brain that controls body temperature, hunger, and thirst.

craniotomy (kray-nee-AH-toe-mee): An operation in which an opening is made in the skull.

crisnatol mesylate: An anticancer drug that interferes with the DNA in cancer cells.

cruciferous vegetables: A family of vegetables that includes kale, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and turnip. These vegetables contain substances that may protect against cancer.

cryosurgery (KRYE-o-SIR-jer-ee): Treatment performed with an instrument that freezes and destroys abnormal tissues. This procedure is a form of cryotherapy.

cryotherapy: Any method that uses cold temperature to treat disease.

CSF: Cerebrospinal fluid. The fluid flowing around the brain and spinal cord. CSF is produced in the ventricles of the brain.

CT scan: Computed tomography scan. A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. Also called computerized tomography and computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan.

CT-2584: A drug that may prevent the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue into a solid tumor. It is being studied for its ability to treat cancer.

cultured cell line: Cells of a single type that have been grown in the laboratory for several generations (cell divisions).

cultured cells: Animal or human cells that are grown in the laboratory.

curettage (kyoo-reh-TAHZH): Removal of tissue with a curette, a spoon-shaped instrument with a sharp edge.

curette (kyoo-RET): A spoon-shaped instrument with a sharp edge.

cutaneous (kyoo-TAY-nee-us): Having to do with the skin.

cyanosis: Blue colored skin caused by too little oxygen in the blood.

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

cyclosporine: A drug used to help reduce the risk of rejection of organ and bone marrow transplants by the body. It is also used in clinical trials to make cancer cells more sensitive to anticancer drugs.

cyproterone acetate: A synthetic hormone being studied for treatment of hot flashes in men with prostate cancer who have had both testicles removed by surgery.

cyst (sist): A sac or capsule filled with fluid.

cystectomy (sis-TEK-toe-mee): Surgery to remove the bladder.

cystoscope (SIS-toe-skope): A thin, lighted instrument used to look inside the bladder and remove tissue samples or small tumors.

cystoscopy (sist-OSS-ko-pee): Examination of the bladder and urethra using a thin, lighted instrument (called a cystoscope) inserted into the urethra. Tissue samples can be removed and examined under a microscope to determine whether disease is present.

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

cytokines: A class of substances that are produced by cells of the immune system and can affect the immune response. Cytokines can also be produced in the laboratory by recombinant DNA technology and given to people to affect immune responses.

cytomegalovirus: A virus that may be carried in an inactive state for life by healthy individuals. It is a cause of severe pneumonia in people with a suppressed immune system, such as those undergoing bone marrow transplantation or those with leukemia or lymphoma.

cytopenia: A reduction in the number of blood cells.

cytotoxic: Cell-killing.

cytotoxic chemotherapy: Anticancer drugs that kill cells, especially cancer cells.

cytotoxic T cells: A type of white blood cell that can directly destroy specific cells. T cells can be separated from other blood cells, grown in the laboratory, and then given to a patient to destroy tumor cells. Certain cytokines can also be given to a patient to help form cytotoxic T cells in the patient's body.

D-20761: A synthetic luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) antagonist that suppresses LH and sex steroid levels.

DACA: Acridine carboxamide. A substance that is being studied as an anticancer drug. It belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors.

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

daclizumab: A monoclonal antibody that is being studied for treatment of adult T-cell leukemia. Also called dacliximab. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells.

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

dalteparin: A drug that helps prevent the formation of blood clots; it belongs to the family of drugs called anticoagulants.

danazol: A synthetic hormone that belongs to the family of drugs called androgens and is used to treat endometriosis. It is being evaluated in the treatment of endometrial cancer.

dark-field microscope: A microscope (device used to magnify small objects) in which objects are lit at a very low angle from the side so that the background appears dark and the objects show up against this dark background.

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

decapeptyl: Belongs to the family of drugs called luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonists. Used to block hormone production in ovarian ablation.

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

deferoxamine: An iron-chelating agent that removes iron from tumors by inhibiting DNA synthesis and causing cancer cell death. It is used in conjunction with other anticancer agents in pediatric neuroblastoma therapy.

defibrotide: A drug under study for the prevention of veno-occlusive disease, a rare complication of high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation in which small veins in the liver become blocked.

dehydroepiandrosterone: DHEA. A substance that is being studied as a cancer prevention drug. It belongs to the family of drugs called steroids.

dendritic cell: A special type of antigen-presenting cell (APC) that activates T lymphocytes.

dendritic cell vaccine: A vaccine made of antigens and dendritic antigen-presenting cells (APCs).

denileukin diftitox: A substance used to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma when other treatments have not worked.

dental implant: A small metal pin placed inside the jawbone to mimic the root of a tooth. Dental implants can be used to help anchor a false tooth or teeth, or a crown or bridge.

deoxycytidine: A drug that protects healthy tissues from the toxic effects of anticancer drugs.

DepoFoam-encapsulated cytarabine: The anticancer drug cytarabine formulated inside small particles of a synthetic lipid material called DepoFoam. This dosage form slowly releases the drug and provides a sustained action.

depsipeptide: Anticancer drugs obtained from microorganisms.

derivative: In chemistry, a compound produced from or related to another.

dermatitis: Inflammation of the skin.

dermatologist (der-ma-TAH-lo-jist): A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin problems.

dermis (DER-mis): The lower or inner layer of the two main layers of tissue that make up the skin.

desmoid tumor: A tumor of the tissue that surrounds muscles, usually in the abdomen. Desmoid tumors rarely metastasize.

dexamethasone: A synthetic steroid (similar to steroid hormones produced naturally in the adrenal gland). Dexamethasone is used to treat leukemia and lymphoma and may be used to treat some of the problems caused by other cancers and their treatment.

dexrazoxane: A drug used to protect the heart from the toxic effects of anthracycline drugs such as doxorubicin. It belongs to the family of drugs called chemoprotective agents.

dextromethorphan acetic acid: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

DHEA: Dehydroepiandrosterone. A substance that is being studied as a cancer prevention drug. It belongs to the family of drugs called steroids.

di-dgA-RFB4 monoclonal antibody: An anticancer drug that is a combination of a monoclonal antibody (RFB4) and an immunotoxin (dgA).

diabetes (dye-a-BEE-teez): A disease in which the body does not properly control the amount of sugar in the blood. As a result, the level of sugar in the blood is too high. This disease occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use it properly.

diabetes mellitus: A group of disorders in which there is a defect in the transfer of glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into cells, leading to abnormally high levels of blood sugar (hyperglycemia).

diagnosis: The process of identifying a disease by the signs and symptoms.

diagnostic procedure: A method used to identify a disease.

diagnostic trial: A research study that evaluates methods of detecting disease.

dialysis (dye-AL-ih-sis): The process of cleansing the blood when the kidneys are not able to filter the blood.

diameter: The length of a straight line that extends from one edge of a tumor or other object, through its center and to the opposite edge. It is usually used to measure the size of round or spherical shapes.

diaphragm (DYE-a-fram): The thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen.

diathermy (DYE-a-ther-mee): The use of heat to destroy abnormal cells. Also called cauterization or electrodiathermy.

diaziquone: AZQ. An anticancer drug that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and kill cancer cells in the central nervous system.

didanosine: A drug used to treat infection caused by viruses.

diethylstilbestrol (dye-ETH-ul-stil-BES-trol): DES. A synthetic hormone that was prescribed from the early 1940s until 1971 to help women with complications of pregnancy. DES has been linked to an increased risk of clear cell carcinoma of the vagina in daughters of women who used DES. DES may also increase the risk of breast cancer in women who used DES.

differentiation: In cancer, refers to how mature (developed) the cancer cells are in a tumor. Differentiated tumor cells resemble normal cells and tend to grow and spread at a slower rate than undifferentiated or poorly-differentiated tumor cells, which lack the structure and function of normal cells and grow uncontrollably.

difluoromethylornithine: DFMO. An anticancer drug that has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer in animals.

digestive system (dye-JES-tiv): The organs that take in food and turn it into products that the body can use to stay healthy. Waste products the body cannot use leave the body through bowel movements. The digestive system includes the salivary glands, mouth, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, small and large intestines, and rectum.

digestive tract (dye-JES-tiv): The organs through which food passes when food is eaten. These organs are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, and rectum.

digital photography: A type of photography in which images can be viewed on a computer screen.

digital rectal examination: DRE. An examination in which a doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel for abnormalities.

dihematoporphyrin ether: Used in photodynamic therapy, a drug that is absorbed by tumor cells; when exposed to light, it becomes active and kills the cancer cells.

dilation and curettage (dye-LAY-shun and kyoo-reh-TAHZH): D&C. A minor operation in which the cervix is expanded enough (dilation) to permit the cervical canal and uterine lining to be scraped with a spoon-shaped instrument called a curette (curettage).

dilator (DYE-lay-tor): A device used to stretch or enlarge an opening.

dimesna: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called chemoprotective agents.

dimethyl sulfoxide: A colorless liquid that readily dissolves many chemicals and penetrates animal and plant tissues. It is used in human medicine, veterinary medicine, and pharmaceuticals.

dimethylxanthenone acetic acid: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

dipyridamole: A drug that prevents blood cell clumping and enhances the effectiveness of fluorouracil and other chemotherapeutic agents.

disease progression: Cancer that continues to grow or spread.

disease-free survival: Length of time after treatment during which no cancer is found. Can be reported for an individual patient or for a study population.

distant cancer: Refers to cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to distant organs or distant lymph nodes.

disulfiram: A drug that slows the metabolism of retinoids, allowing them to act over a longer period of time.

diuretic: A drug that increases the production of urine.

diverticulosis: A condition marked by small sacs or pouches (diverticula) in the walls of an organ such as the stomach or colon. These sacs can become inflamed and cause a condition called diverticulitis, which may be a risk factor for certain types of cancer.

DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid. The molecules inside cells that carry genetic information and pass it from one generation to the next.

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

dolastatin 10: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors.

donepezil: A drug used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. It belongs to the family of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors. It is being studied as a treatment for side effects caused by radiation therapy to the brain.

dose-dependent: Refers to the effects of treatment with a drug. If the effects change when the dose of the drug is changed, the effects are said to be dose dependent.

dose-limiting: Describes side effects of a drug or other treatment that are serious enough to prevent an increase in dose or level of that treatment.

dose-rate: The strength of a treatment given over a period of time.

double-blinded: A clinical trial in which neither the medical staff nor the person knows which of several possible therapies the person is receiving.

douche (DOOSH): A procedure in which water or a medicated solution is used to clean the vagina and cervix.

Down syndrome: A disorder caused by the presence of an extra chromosome 21 and characterized by mental retardation and distinguishing physical features.

doxorubicin: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics. It is an anthracycline.

doxycycline: An antibiotic drug used to treat infection.

DPPE: Belongs to a group of antihormone drugs.

dronabinol: A synthetic pill form of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active ingredient in marijuana that is used to treat nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy.

dry orgasm: Sexual climax without the release of semen.

DTGM fusion protein: An anticancer drug formed by the combination of diphtheria toxin and a colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). The colony stimulating factor is attracted to cancer cells, and the diphtheria toxin kills the cells.

duct (dukt): A tube through which body fluids pass.

ductal carcinoma in situ (DUK-tal kar-sin-O-ma in SYE-too): DCIS. Abnormal cells that involve only the lining of a duct. The cells have not spread outside the duct to other tissues in the breast. Also called intraductal carcinoma.

dumping syndrome: A group of symptoms that occur when food or liquid enters the small intestine too rapidly. These symptoms include cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and dizziness. Dumping syndrome sometimes occurs in people who have had a portion of their stomach removed.

duodenum (doo-o-DEE-num): The first part of the small intestine.

DX-52-1: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics. It is an anthracycline.

DX-8951f: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors.

dysgeusia: A bad taste in the mouth. Also called parageusia.

dyspepsia: Upset stomach.

dysplasia (dis-PLAY-zha): Cells that look abnormal under a microscope but are not cancer.

dysplastic nevi (dis-PLAS-tik NEE-vye): Atypical moles; moles whose appearance is different from that of common moles. Dysplastic nevi are generally larger than ordinary moles and have irregular and indistinct borders. Their color frequently is not uniform and ranges from pink to dark brown; they usually are flat, but parts may be raised above the skin surface.

dyspnea: Difficult, painful breathing or shortness of breath.

E7070: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called sulfonamides. It is being studied for its ability to treat cancer.

echocardiography: A procedure that uses ultrasonic waves directed over the chest wall to obtain a graphic record of the heart's position, motion of the walls, or internal parts such as the valves.

ecteinascidin 743: An anticancer drug that inhibits the growth of cancer cells by disrupting the structure of tumor-cell DNA.

edatrexate: An anticancer drug that belongs to a family of drugs called antimetabolites.

edema (eh-DEE-ma): Swelling caused by excess fluid in body tissues.

edrecolomab: 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.

EF5: A drug that is used to plan cancer treatment by measuring oxygen levels in tumor cells.

effector cell: A cell that performs a specific function in response to a stimulus; usually used to describe cells in the immune system.

eflornithine: An antiprotozoal drug that is being studied for cancer prevention.

ejaculation: The release of semen through the penis during orgasm.

electrodesiccation (e-LEK-tro-des-ih-KAY-shun): The drying of tissue by a high-frequency electric current applied with a needle-shaped electrode.

electrolarynx (e-LEK-tro-LAIR-inks): A battery-operated instrument that makes a humming sound. An electrolarynx is used to help people whose voice boxes (larynxes) have been removed.

electron microscope: A microscope (device used to magnify small objects) that uses electrons (instead of light) to produce an enlarged image. An electron microscopes shows tiny details better than any other type of microscope.

electroporation therapy: EPT. Treatment that generates electrical pulses through an electrode placed in a tumor to enhance the ability of anticancer drugs to enter tumor cells.

embolism (EM-bul-izm): A block in an artery caused by blood clots or other substances, such as fat globules, infected tissue, or cancer cells.

embolization (EM-bo-lih-ZAY-shun): The blocking of an artery by a clot or foreign material. Embolization can be done as treatment to block the flow of blood to a tumor.

embryo: Having to do with an early stage in the development of a plant or an animal. In vertebrate animals, this stage lasts from shortly after fertilization until all major body parts appear. In particular, in humans, this stage lasts from about 2 weeks after fertilization until the end of the seventh or eighth week of pregnancy.

EMD 121974: A substance that is being studied as an anticancer and antiangiogenesis drug.

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

emphysema: Pulmonary emphysema is a disorder affecting the alveoli (tiny air sacs) of the lungs. The transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs takes place in the walls of the alveoli. In emphysema, the alveoli become abnormally inflated, damaging their walls and making it harder to breathe. People who smoke or have chronic bronchitis have an increased risk of emphysema.

enalapril: An antihypertensive agent that can also be used to slow or prevent the progression of heart disease in people with childhood cancer treated with drugs that may be harmful to the heart.

encapsulated (en-KAP-soo-lay-ted): Confined to a specific, localized area and surrounded by a thin layer of tissue.

encephalopathy: A disorder of the brain that can be caused by disease, injury, drugs, or chemicals.

enchondroma (en-kon-DRO-ma): A benign (noncancerous) growth of cartilage in bones or in other areas where cartilage is not normally found.

endocervical curettage (en-do-SER-vih-kul kyoo-reh-TAHZH): The scraping of the mucous membrane of the cervical canal using a spoon-shaped instrument called a curette.

endocrine cancer: Cancer that occurs in endocrine tissue, the tissue in the body that secretes hormones.

endocrinologist (en-do-krih-NAH-lo-jist): A doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating hormone disorders.

endogenous: Produced inside an organism or cell. The opposite is external (exogenous) production.

endometrial: Having to do with the endometrium (the layer of tissue that lines the uterus).

endometrial disorder: Abnormal cell growth in the endometrium (the lining of the uterus).

endometriosis (en-do-mee-tree-O-sis): A benign condition in which tissue that looks like endometrial tissue grows in abnormal places in the abdomen.

endometrium (en-do-MEE-tree-um): The layer of tissue that lines the uterus.

endoscope (EN-do-skope): A thin, lighted tube used to look at tissues inside the body.

endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (en-do-SKAH-pik RET-ro-grade ko-LAN-jee-o-PAN-kree-a-TAW-gra-fee): ERCP. A procedure to x-ray the pancreatic duct, hepatic duct, common bile duct, duodenal papilla, and gallbladder. In this procedure, a thin, lighted tube (endoscope) is passed through the mouth and down into the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). A smaller tube (catheter) is then inserted through the endoscope into the bile and pancreatic ducts. A dye is injected through the catheter into the ducts, and an x-ray is taken.

endoscopy (en-DAHS-ko-pee): The use of a thin, lighted tube (called an endoscope) to examine the inside of the body.

endostatin: A drug that is being studied for its ability to prevent the growth of new blood vessels into a solid tumor. Endostatin belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

endothelial cell: The main type of cell found in the inside lining of blood vessels, lymph vessels, and the heart.

enema: The injection of a liquid through the anus into the large bowel.

eniluracil: An anticancer drug that increases the effectiveness of fluorouracil. Also called ethynyluracil.

enoxaparin: A drug used to prevent blood clots. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticoagulants.

enterostomal therapist (en-ter-o-STO-mul): A health professional trained in the care of persons with urostomies and other stomas.

environmental tobacco smoke: ETS. Smoke that comes from the burning of a tobacco product and smoke that is exhaled by smokers (second-hand smoke). Inhaling ETS is called involuntary or passive smoking.

enzyme: A protein that speeds up chemical reactions in the body.

epidermal growth factor receptor: EGFR. The protein found on the surface of some cells and to which epidermal growth factor binds, causing the cells to divide. It is found at abnormally high levels on the surface of many types of cancer cells, so these cells may divide excessively in the presence of epidermal growth factor. Also known as ErbB1 or HER1.

epidermis (ep-i-DER-mis): The upper or outer layer of the two main layers of tissue that make up the skin.

epidermoid carcinoma (ep-i-DER-moyd kar-sin-O-ma): A type of cancer in which the cells are flat and look like fish scales. Also called squamous cell carcinoma.

epidural: The space between the wall of the spinal canal and the covering of the spinal cord. An epidural injection is given into this space.

epidural block: An injection of an anesthetic drug into the space between the wall of the spinal canal and the covering of the spinal cord.

epigastric: Having to do with the upper middle area of the abdomen.

epiglottis (ep-ih-GLAH-tis): The flap that covers the trachea during swallowing so that food does not enter the lungs.

epilepsy: A group of disorders marked by problems in the normal functioning of the brain. These problems can produce seizures, unusual body movements, a loss of consciousness or changes in consciousness, as well as mental problems or problems with the senses.

epinephrine: A hormone and neurotransmitter. Also called adrenaline.

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

epithelial (ep-ih-THEE-lee-ul): Refers to the cells that line the internal and external surfaces of the body.

epithelial carcinoma (ep-ih-THEE-lee-ul kar-sin-O-ma): Cancer that begins in the cells that line an organ.

epithelial ovarian cancer (ep-ih-THEE-lee-ul): Cancer that occurs in the cells lining the ovaries.

epithelium (EP-ih-THEE-lee-um): A thin layer of tissue that covers organs, glands, and other structures within the body.

epoetin alfa: A colony-stimulating factor that is made in the laboratory. It increases the production of red blood cells.

Epstein-Barr virus: EBV. A common virus that remains dormant in most people. It has been associated with certain cancers, including Burkitt's lymphoma, immunoblastic lymphoma, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

ERA-923: A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to a family of drugs called antiestrogens.

erb-38 immunotoxin: A toxic substance linked to an antibody that attaches to tumor cells and kills them.

ERCP: Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (en-do-SKAH-pik RET-ro-grade ko-LAN-jee-o-PAN-kree-a-TAW-gra-fee). A procedure to x-ray the bile and pancreatic ducts. In this procedure, a thin, lighted tube (endoscope) is passed through the mouth and down into the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). A smaller tube (catheter) is then inserted through the endoscope into the bile and pancreatic ducts. A dye is injected through the catheter into the ducts, and an x-ray is taken.

erythrocytes (eh-RITH-ro-sites): Cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Also called red blood cells (RBCs).

erythroleukemia (eh-RITH-ro-loo-KEE-mee-a): Cancer of the blood-forming tissues in which large numbers of immature, abnormal red blood cells are found in the blood and bone marrow.

erythroplakia (eh-RITH-ro-PLAY-kee-a): A reddened patch with a velvety surface found in the mouth.

erythropoietin: Produced in the adult kidney, a colony-stimulating factor that stimulates the production of red blood cells.

esophageal (eh-SOF-a-JEE-al): Having to do with the esophagus, the muscular tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach.

esophageal speech (eh-SOF-a-JEE-al): Speech produced by trapping air in the esophagus and forcing it out again. It is used by people whose voice boxes (larynxes) have been removed.

esophagectomy (eh-sof-a-JEK-toe-mee): An operation to remove a portion of the esophagus.

esophagitis: Inflammation of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach).

esophagoscopy (eh-sof-a-GAHS-ko-pee): Examination of the esophagus using a thin, lighted tube.

esophagram (eh-SOF-a-gram): A series of x-rays of the esophagus. The x-ray pictures are taken after the person drinks a solution that contains barium. The barium coats and outlines the esophagus on the x-ray. Also called a barium swallow.

esophagus (eh-SOF-a-gus): The muscular tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach.

estramustine: A combination of the hormone estradiol (an estrogen) and nitrogen mustard (an anticancer drug). Used in the palliative therapy of prostate cancer.

estrogen receptor: ER. Protein found on some cancer cells to which estrogen will attach.

estrogen receptor negative: ER-. Breast cancer cells that do not have a protein (receptor molecule) to which estrogen will attach. Breast cancer cells that are ER- do not need the hormone estrogen to grow and usually do not respond to hormone (antiestrogen) therapy that blocks these receptor sites.

estrogen receptor positive: ER+. Breast cancer cells that have a protein (receptor molecule) to which estrogen will attach. Breast cancer cells that are ER+ need the hormone estrogen to grow and will usually respond to hormone (antiestrogen) therapy that blocks these receptor sites.

estrogen replacement therapy: ERT. Hormones (estrogen, progesterone, or both) given to postmenopausal women or to women who have had their ovaries surgically removed. Hormones are given to replace the estrogen no longer produced by the ovaries.

estrogens (ES-tro-jins): A family of hormones that promote the development and maintenance of female sex characteristics.

etanidazole: A drug that increases the effectiveness of radiation therapy.

ethynyluracil: An anticancer drug that increases the effectiveness of fluorouracil. Also called eniluracil.

etidronate: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonates are used as treatment for hypercalcemia (abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood) and for cancer that has spread to the bone (bone metastases).

etiology: The cause or origin of disease.

etoposide: An anticancer drug that is a podophyllotoxin derivative and belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors.

evaluable disease: Disease that cannot be measured directly by the size of the tumor but can be evaluated by other methods specific to a particular clinical trial.

evaluable patients: Patients whose response to a treatment can be measured because enough information has been collected.

Ewing's sarcoma (YOO-ingz sar-KO-ma): A type of bone cancer that usually forms in the middle (shaft) of large bones. Also called Ewing's sarcoma/primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET).

excisional biopsy (ek-SI-zhun-al BY-op-see): A surgical procedure in which an entire lump or suspicious area is removed for diagnosis. The tissue is then examined under a microscope.

exemestane: An anticancer drug used to decrease estrogen production and suppress the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors.

external radiation (ray-dee-AY-shun): Radiation therapy that uses a machine to aim high-energy rays at the cancer. Also called external-beam radiation.

external-beam radiation (ray-dee-AY-shun): Radiation therapy that uses a machine to aim high-energy rays at the cancer. Also called external radiation.

fallopian tubes (fa-LO-pee-in): Part of the female reproductive tract. The long slender tubes through which eggs pass from the ovaries to the uterus.

fatty acids: A major component of fats that are used by the body for energy and tissue development.

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

fecal occult blood test (FEE-kul o-KULT): A test to check for blood in stool. (Fecal refers to stool; occult means hidden.)

fenretinide: A drug being studied for cancer prevention; it belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids.

fentanyl: A narcotic opioid drug that is used in the treatment of pain.

fertility (fer-TIL-i-tee): The ability to produce children.

fetus (FEET-us): The developing offspring from 7 to 8 weeks after conception until birth.

fiber: The parts of fruits and vegetables that cannot be digested. Also called bulk or roughage. Fiber may be effective in preventing cancer.

fibroid (FYE-broyd): A benign smooth muscle tumor, usually in the uterus or gastrointestinal tract. Also called leiomyoma.

fibrosarcoma: A type of soft tissue sarcoma that begins in fibrous tissue, which holds bones, muscles, and other organs in place.

fibrosis: The growth of fibrous tissue.

filgrastim: A colony-stimulating factor that stimulates the production of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell). It is a cytokine that belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic (blood-forming) agents. Also called granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF).

filgrastim-SD/01: A substance that is being studied for its ability to increase numbers of white blood cells in people who are receiving chemotherapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called colony-stimulating factors.

filler: An inactive substance used to make a product bigger or easier to handle. For example, fillers are often used to make pills or capsules because the amount of active drug is too small to be handled conveniently.

finasteride: A drug used to reduce the amount of male hormone (testosterone) produced by the body.

fine-needle aspiration: The removal of tissue or fluid with a needle for examination under a microscope. Also called needle biopsy.

FK463: An antibiotic/antifungal drug used to treat infection.

flavopiridol: Belongs to the family of anticancer drugs called flavinols.

flecainide: A drug that is used to treat abnormal heart rhythms. It may also relieve neuropathic pain, the burning, stabbing, or stinging pain that may arise from damage to nerves caused by some types of cancer or cancer treatment.

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

flt3L: A drug that increases the number of immune cells and may stimulate the immune system to kill cancer cells.

fluconazole: A drug that treats infections caused by fungi.

flucytosine: A drug that treats infections caused by fungi.

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

fludeoxyglucose F 18: The radioactive form of glucose used in positron emission tomography (PET), a diagnostic imaging procedure.

fludrocortisone: A synthetic corticosteroid. It is used to replace steroid hormones normally produced by the adrenal gland.

fluoroscope (FLOOR-o-skope): An x-ray machine that makes it possible to see internal organs in motion.

fluoroscopy (floor-AHS-ko-pee): An x-ray procedure that makes it possible to see internal organs in motion.

fluorouracil (floor-o-YOOR-a-sil): An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites.

fluoxetine: A drug used to treat depression. It belongs to the family of drugs called antidepressants.

flutamide: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antiandrogens.

folate: A B-complex vitamin that is being studied as a cancer prevention agent. Also called folic acid.

folic acid: A B-complex vitamin that is being studied as a cancer prevention agent. Also called folate.

follicles (FOL-i-kuls): Shafts through which hair grows.

follicular large cell lymphoma (foll-IK-yew-lar large cell lim- FO-ma): A rare type of non- Hodgkin's lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) with large cells that look cleaved (split) or non-cleaved under the microscope. It is an indolent (slow-growing) type of lymphoma.

FR901228: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called depsipeptides.

fractionation: Dividing the total dose of radiation therapy into several smaller, equal doses delivered over a period of several days.

free radicals: Highly reactive chemicals that often contain oxygen and are produced when molecules are split to give products that have unpaired electrons. This process is called oxidation. Free radicals can damage important cellular molecules such as DNA or lipids or other parts of the cell.

freeze-dried: A method used to dry substances, such as food, to make them last longer. The substance is frozen and then dried in a vacuum.

fulguration (ful-gyoor-AY-shun): Destroying tissue using an electric current.

functional magnetic resonance imaging: A noninvasive tool used to observe functioning in the brain or other organs by detecting changes in chemical composition, blood flow, or both.

fundus: The larger part of a hollow organ that is farthest away from the organ's opening. The bladder, gallbladder, stomach, uterus, eye, and cavity of the middle ear all have a fundus.

G-CSF: Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. A substance that stimulates the production of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell. Also called filgrastim.

gadolinium texaphyrin: A substance that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation; it can also enhance tumor images using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Gadolinium texaphyrin belongs to the family of drugs called metalloporphyrin complexes.

gallbladder (GAWL-blad-er): The pear-shaped organ that sits below the liver. Bile is concentrated and stored in the gallbladder.

gallium nitrate: A drug that lowers blood calcium. Used as treatment for hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood) and for cancer that has spread to the bone (bone metastases).

gamma irradiation: A type of radiation therapy that uses gamma radiation. Gamma radiation is a type of high-energy radiation that is different from x-rays.

gamma knife: Radiation therapy in which high-energy rays are aimed at a tumor from many angles in a single treatment session.

ganciclovir: An antiviral agent used to prevent or treat cytomegalovirus infections that may occur when the body's immune system is suppressed. In gene therapy, ganciclovir is used with an altered herpes simplex virus-1 gene to kill advanced melanoma cells and brain tumor cells.

gastrectomy (gas-TREK-toe-mee): An operation to remove all or part of the stomach.

gastric (GAS-trik): Having to do with the stomach.

gastric atrophy (GAS-trik AT-ro-fee): A condition in which the stomach muscles shrink and become weak. The digestive (peptic) glands may also shrink, resulting in a lack of digestive juices.

gastroenterologist (GAS-tro-en-ter-AHL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the digestive system.

gastrointestinal (GAS-tro-in-TES-tih-nul): Refers to the stomach and intestines.

gastrointestinal (GAS-tro-in-TES-tih-nul): Refers to the stomach and intestines.

gastrointestinal stromal tumor: GIST. A type of tumor that usually begins in cells in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. It can be benign or malignant.

gastrointestinal tract (GAS-tro-in-TES-tih-nul): The stomach and intestines.

gastroscope (GAS-tro-skope): A thin, lighted tube used to view the inside of the stomach.

gastroscopy (gas-TRAHS-ko-pee): An examination of the inside of the stomach using a thin, lighted tube (called a gastroscope) passed through the mouth and esophagus.

geldanamycin analogue: An antineoplastic antibiotic drug that belongs to the family of drugs called ansamycins.

GEM 231: A drug that may inhibit the growth of malignant tumors.

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

gemtuzumab ozogamicin: 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.

gene: The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.

gene deletion: The total loss or absence of a gene.

gene therapy: Treatment that alters a gene. In studies of gene therapy for cancer, researchers are trying to improve the body's natural ability to fight the disease or to make the cancer cells more sensitive to other kinds of therapy.

gene-modified: Cells that have been altered to contain different genetic material than they originally contained.

genetic: Inherited; having to do with information that is passed from parents to offspring through genes in sperm and egg cells.

genetic counseling: A communication process between a specially trained health professional and a person concerned about the genetic risk of disease. The person's family and personal medical history may be discussed, and counseling may lead to genetic testing.

genetic markers: Alterations in DNA that may indicate an increased risk of developing a specific disease or disorder.

genetic testing: Analyzing DNA to look for a genetic alteration that may indicate an increased risk for developing a specific disease or disorder.

genitourinary system (GEN-ih-toe-YOO-rin-air-ee): The parts of the body that play a role in reproduction, getting rid of waste products in the form of urine, or both.

germ cell tumors: Tumors that begin in the cells that give rise to sperm or eggs. They can occur virtually anywhere in the body and can be either benign or malignant.

germ cells: The reproductive cells of the body, specifically, egg or sperm cells.

germ-free: Free of bacteria, disease-causing viruses, and other organisms that can cause infection.

germline mutation: A gene change in the body's reproductive cells (egg or sperm) that becomes incorporated into the DNA of every cell in the body of offspring; germline mutations are passed on from parents to offspring. Also called hereditary mutation.

GI14721: An antitumor drug that belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors. It is a camptothecin analogue.

ginseng: An herb with a root that has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anticancer effects.

gland: An organ that produces and releases one or more substances for use in the body. Some glands produce fluids that affect tissues or organs. Others produce hormones or participate in blood production.

Gleason score: A system of grading prostate cancer cells to determine the best treatment and to predict how well a person is likely to do. A low Gleason score means the cancer cells are very similar to normal prostate cells; a high Gleason score means the cancer cells are very different from normal.

glial tumors: A general term for many types of tumors of the central nervous system, including astrocytomas, ependymal tumors, glioblastoma multiforme, and primitive neuroectodermal tumors.

glottis (GLAH-tis): The middle part of the larynx; the area where the vocal cords are located.

glucocorticoid: A compound that belongs to the family of compounds called corticosteroids (steroids). Glucocorticoids affect metabolism and have anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects. They may be naturally produced (hormones) or synthetic (drugs).

gluconeogenesis: The process of making glucose (sugar) from its own breakdown products or from the breakdown products of lipids (fats) or proteins. Gluconeogenesis occurs mainly in cells of the liver or kidney.

glucose: Sugar.

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

glutamine: An amino acid used in nutrition therapy. It is also being studied for the treatment of diarrhea caused by radiation therapy to the pelvis.

glycolysis: A process in which glucose (sugar) is partially broken down by cells in enzyme reactions that do not need oxygen. Glycolysis is one method that cells use to produce energy. When glycolysis is linked with other enzyme reactions that use oxygen, more complete breakdown of glucose is possible and more energy is produced.

glycoprotein: A protein that has sugar molecules attached to it.

glycosaminoglycan: A type of long, unbranched polysaccharide molecule. Glycosaminoglycans are major structural components of cartilage and are also found in the cornea of the eye.

GM-CSF: Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. A substance that stimulates the production of white blood cells, especially granulocytes and macrophages, and cells (in the bone marrow) that are precursors of platelets. Also called sargramostim.

GM2-KLH vaccine: A substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies that fight certain cancer cells.

gonads: The part of the reproductive system that produces and releases eggs (ovaries) or sperm (testicles/testes).

goserelin: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues. Goserelin is used to block hormone production in the ovaries or testicles.

gossypol: An anticancer drug extracted from the cotton plant.

gp 100: Glycoprotein 100. A tumor-specific antigen used in the development of cancer vaccines.

GPX-100: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics. It is an anthracycline.

grade: The grade of a tumor depends on how abnormal the cancer cells look under a microscope and how quickly the tumor is likely to grow and spread. Grading systems are different for each type of cancer.

grading: A system for classifying cancer cells in terms of how abnormal they appear when examined under a microscope. The objective of a grading system is to provide information about the probable growth rate of the tumor and its tendency to spread. The systems used to grade tumors vary with each type of cancer. Grading plays a role in treatment decisions.

graft: Healthy skin, bone, or other tissue taken from one part of the body and used to replace diseased or injured tissue removed from another part of the body.

graft-versus-host disease: GVHD. A reaction of donated bone marrow or peripheral stem cells against a person's tissue.

graft-versus-tumor: An immune response to a person's tumor cells by immune cells present in a donor's transplanted tissue, such as bone marrow or peripheral blood.

granisetron: A drug that prevents or reduces nausea and vomiting.

granulocyte (GRAN-yoo-lo-site): A type of white blood cell that fights bacterial infection. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils are granulocytes.

granulocyte colony-stimulating factor: G-CSF. A substance that stimulates the production of blood cells, especially platelets, during chemotherapy. It is a cytokine that belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic (blood-forming) agents. Also called filgrastim.

granulocytopenia: A deficiency in the number of granulocytes, a type of white blood cell.

groin: The area where the thigh meets the abdomen.

growth factors: Substances made by the body that function to regulate cell division and cell survival. Some growth factors are also produced in the laboratory and used in biological therapy.

GVHD: Graft-versus-host disease. A reaction of donated bone marrow or peripheral stem cells against a person's tissue.

gynecologic cancer (guy-neh-ko-LAH-jik): Cancer of the female reproductive tract, including the cervix, endometrium, fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, and vagina.

gynecologic oncologist (guy-neh-ko-LAH-jik on-KOL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in treating cancers of the female reproductive organs.

gynecologist (guy-neh-KAH-lo-jist): A doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the female reproductive organs.

hair follicles (FOL-i-kuls): Shafts or openings on the surface of the skin through which hair grows.

hawthorn fruit: The fruit of the hawthorn bush or tree. It has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anticancer effects.

Hedyotis diffusa: An herb used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat certain medical problems. It has been used to boost the immune system and may have anticancer effects.

Helicobacter pylori (HEEL-ih-ko-BAK-ter pye-LOR-ee): Bacteria that cause inflammation and ulcers in the stomach.

hemangiopericytoma: A type of cancer involving blood vessels and soft tissue.

hematogenous: Originating in the blood or spread through the bloodstream.

hematologic malignancies: Cancers of the blood or bone marrow, including leukemia and lymphoma. Also called hematologic cancers.

hematologist (hee-ma-TOL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the blood.

hematopoiesis: The forming of new blood cells.

hematopoietic growth factors: A group of proteins that cause blood cells to grow and mature.

hematopoietic tissue: Tissue in which new blood cells are formed.

hematoporphyrin derivative: A drug used in photodynamic therapy that is absorbed by tumor cells. When exposed to light, it becomes active and kills the cancer cells.

hemophilia: Refers to a group of hereditary disorders in which affected individuals fail to make enough of certain proteins needed to form blood clots.

hemorrhoid: An enlarged or swollen blood vessel, usually located near the anus or the rectum.

heparin: A drug that helps prevent blood clots from forming. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticoagulants (blood thinners).

hepatic: Refers to the liver.

hepatitis (hep-a-TYE-tis): Inflammation of the liver.

hepatitis B: A type of hepatitis that is carried and passed to others through the blood or sexual contact.

hepatocyte (HEP-a-toe-site): A liver cell.

hepatoma (hep-a-TOE-ma): A liver tumor.

HER2/neu: Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. The HER2-neu protein is involved in growth of some cancer cells. Also called c-erbB-2.

HER2/neu gene: The gene that makes the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. The protein produced is HER2/neu antigen, which is involved in the growth of some cancer cells. Also called c-erbB-2.

herbicide: A chemical that kills plants.

hereditary mutation: A gene change in the body's reproductive cells (egg or sperm) that becomes incorporated into the DNA of every cell in the body of offspring; hereditary mutations are passed on from parents to offspring. Also called germline mutation.

herpes virus (HER-peez VYE-rus): A member of the herpes family of viruses.

high-grade lymphomas: Includes large cell, immunoblastic, lymphoblastic, and small noncleaved cell lymphomas. These lymphomas grow quickly but have a better response to anticancer drugs than that seen with low-grade lymphomas.

histamine dihydrochloride: A drug being studied for its ability to enhance the effectiveness of IL-2 in treating acute myeloid leukemia.

histology: The study of tissues and cells under a microscope.

HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus, the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

HIV antibody: A substance produced by certain white blood cells in reaction to contact with HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus.

Hodgkin's disease: A malignant disease of the lymphatic system that is characterized by painless enlargement of lymph nodes, the spleen, or other lymphatic tissue. It is sometimes accompanied by symptoms such as fever, weight loss, fatigue, and night sweats.

holmium Ho 166 DOTMP: A drug containing a radioactive isotope that is used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

homeopathic remedies: Small doses of medicines, herbs, or both that are believed to stimulate the immune system.

homoharringtonine: An anticancer drug that belongs to the plant alkaloid family of drugs.

hormonal therapy: Treatment of cancer by removing, blocking, or adding hormones. Also called hormone therapy or endocrine therapy.

hormone receptor test: A test to measure the amount of certain proteins, called hormone receptors, in cancer tissue. Hormones can attach to these proteins. A high level of hormone receptors may mean that hormones help the cancer grow.

hormone replacement therapy: HRT. Hormones (estrogen, progesterone, or both) given to postmenopausal women or women who have had their ovaries surgically removed, to replace the estrogen no longer produced by the ovaries.

hormone therapy: Treatment of cancer by removing, blocking, or adding hormones. Also called endocrine therapy.

hormones: Chemicals produced by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream. Hormones control the actions of certain cells or organs.

Horner's syndrome: A condition in which one side of the face is flushed, does not produce sweat, and has a constricted pupil and drooping eyelid. It can be caused by an injury to, or paralysis of, nerves in the neck, or by a tumor.

hu14.18-interleukin-2 fusion protein: An anticancer drug in which hu14.18, a monoclonal antibody, is combined with interleukin-2. The monoclonal antibody binds to the cancer cells and delivers IL-2, which stimulates the immune system to destroy the cancer cells.

human papillomavirus (pap-ih-LO-ma VYE-rus): HPV. A virus that causes abnormal tissue growth (warts) and is often associated with some types of cancer.

humidifier (hyoo-MID-ih-fye-er): A machine that puts moisture in the air.

hydration: Combining with water.

hydrocephalus (hye-dro-SEF-uh-lus): The abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain.

hydrocortisone: A drug used to relieve the symptoms of certain hormone shortages and to suppress an immune response.

hydrogen peroxide: A chemical used in bleaches, dyes, cleansers, antiseptics, and disinfectants. In a concentrated form, it is toxic and irritating to tissues.

hydrolysis: A chemical reaction that uses water to break down a compound.

hydromorphone: A drug used to relieve pain.

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

hyperbaric oxygen: Oxygen that is at an atmospheric pressure higher than the pressure at sea level. Breathing hyperbaric oxygen to enhance the effectiveness of radiation therapy is being studied.

hypercalcemia (hye-per-kal-SEE-mee-a): Abnormally high blood calcium.

hyperfractionation: A way of giving radiation therapy in smaller-than-usual doses two or three times a day instead of once a day.

hyperglycemia: Abnormally high blood sugar.

hyperplasia (hye-per-PLAY-zha): An abnormal increase in the number of cells in an organ or tissue.

hypersensitivity: An exaggerated response by the immune system to a drug or other substance.

hypertension: Abnormally high blood pressure.

hyperthermia (hye-per-THER-mee-a): A type of treatment in which body tissue is exposed to high temperatures to damage and kill cancer cells or to make cancer cells more sensitive to the effects of radiation and certain anticancer drugs.

hyperthermic perfusion: A procedure in which a warmed solution containing anticancer drugs is used to bathe, or is passed through the blood vessels of, the tissue or organ containing the tumor.

hyperthyroidism: A condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone.

hyperuricemia: A buildup of uric acid (a byproduct of metabolism) in the blood; a side effect of some anticancer drugs.

hypervascular: Having a large number of blood vessels.

hypoglycemia: Abnormally low blood sugar

hypopharynx: The bottom part of the throat. Cancer of the hypopharynx is also called hypopharyngeal cancer.

hypotension: Abnormally low blood pressure.

hypothalamus (hye-po-THAL-uh-mus): The area of the brain that controls body temperature, hunger, and thirst.

hypothesis: A tentative proposal made to explain certain observations or facts that requires further investigation to be verified.

hypoxic: Having too little oxygen.

hysterectomy (hiss-ter-EK-toe-mee): An operation in which the uterus is removed.

ibritumomab tiuxetan: An anticancer drug that is a combination of a monoclonal antibody and a radioisotope (yttrium-90). Also called IDEC-Y2B8 monoclonal antibody.

ICI 182780: A drug that blocks estrogen activity in the body and is used in the therapy of estrogen-dependent tumors such as breast cancer.

idarubicin: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics. Also called 4-demethoxydaunorubicin.

IDEC-In2B8: A radiolabeled antibody being that is being studied in cancer treatment.

IDEC-Y2B8 monoclonal antibody: An anticancer drug that is a combination of a monoclonal antibody and a radioisotope (yttrium-90). Also called ibritumomab tiuxetan. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells.

idoxifene: A drug that blocks the effects of estrogen.

idoxuridine: A drug that reduces the risk of cancer cell growth by interfering with the cells' DNA.

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

ileostomy (il-ee-AHS-toe-mee): An opening into the ileum, part of the small intestine, from the outside of the body. An ileostomy provides a new path for waste material to leave the body after part of the intestine has been removed.

ILX-295501: A substance that is being studied as an anticancer drug. It belongs to the family of drugs called diarysulfonylureas.

ILX23-7553: A substance that is being studied as an anticancer drug.

IM-862: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

imagery: A technique in which the person focuses on positive images in his or her mind.

imaging: Tests that produce pictures of areas inside the body.

imaging procedures: Methods of producing pictures of areas inside the body.

imipenem: An antibiotic drug used to treat severe or very resistant infection. It belongs to the family of drugs called carbapenems.

immune adjuvant: A drug that stimulates the immune system to respond to disease.

immune function: Production and action of cells that fight disease or infection.

immune response: The activity of the immune system against foreign substances (antigens).

immune system (im-YOON): The complex group of organs and cells that defends the body against infection or disease.

immunocompromised: Having a weakened immune system caused by certain diseases or treatments.

immunodeficiency: The decreased ability of the body to fight infection and disease.

immunodeficiency syndrome: The inability of the body to produce an immune response.

immunoglobulin: A protein that acts as an antibody.

immunological adjuvant: A substance used to help boost the immune response to a vaccine so that less vaccine is needed.

immunology: The study of the body's immune system.

immunoscintigraphy: An imaging procedure in which antibodies labeled with radioactive substances are given to the person. A picture is taken of sites in the body where the antibody localizes.

immunosuppression: Suppression of the body's immune system and its ability to fight infections or disease. Immunosuppression may be deliberately induced with drugs, as in preparation for bone marrow or other organ transplantation to prevent rejection of the donor tissue. It may also result from certain diseases such as AIDS or lymphoma or from anticancer drugs.

immunosuppressive: Describes the ability to lower immune system responses.

immunosuppressive therapy: Therapy used to decrease the body's immune response, such as drugs given to prevent transplant rejection.

immunotherapy (IM-yoo-no-THER-a-pee): Treatment to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease. Also used to lessen side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Also called biological therapy or biological response modifier (BRM) therapy.

immunotoxin: An antibody linked to a toxic substance. Some immmunotoxins can bind to cancer cells and kill them.

implant radiation (ray-dee-AY-shun): A procedure in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters is placed directly into or near the tumor. Also called

implantable pump: A small device installed under the skin to administer a steady dose of drugs.

impotent (IM-po-tent): Unable to have an erection adequate for sexual intercourse.

in situ cancer: Early cancer that has not spread to neighboring tissue.

in vitro: In the laboratory (outside the body). The opposite of in vivo (in the body).

in vivo: In the body. The opposite of in vitro (outside the body or in the laboratory).

incidence: The number of new cases of a disease diagnosed each year.

incision (in-SIH-zhun): A cut made in the body during surgery.

incisional biopsy (in-SI-zhun-al BY-op-see): A surgical procedure in which a portion of a lump or suspicious area is removed for diagnosis. The tissue is then examined under a microscope.

incomplete Freund's adjuvant: A drug used in vaccine therapy to stimulate the immune system.

incontinence (in-KAHN-tih-nens): Inability to control the flow of urine from the bladder (urinary incontinence) or the escape of stool from the rectum (fecal incontinence).

incubated: Grown in the laboratory under controlled conditions. (For instance, white blood cells can be grown in special conditions so that they attack specific cancer cells when returned to the body.)

indinavir: A drug that interferes with the ability of a virus to make copies of itself.

indium In 111 pentetreotide: An anticancer drug belonging to a family of drugs called radiopharmaceuticals.

indole-3-carbinol: A substance that is being studied as a cancer prevention drug. It is found in cruciferous vegetables.

indolent (IN-doe-lint): A type of cancer that grows slowly.

indolent lymphoma: Lymphoma that grows slowly and has few symptoms.

indomethacin: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Indomethacin reduces pain, fever, swelling and redness. It is also being used to reduce tumor-induced suppression of the immune system and to increase the effectiveness of anticancer drugs.

induction therapy: Treatment designed to be used as a first step toward shrinking the cancer and in evaluating response to drugs and other agents. Induction therapy is followed by additional therapy to eliminate whatever cancer remains.

inferior vena cava: A large vein that empties into the heart. It carries blood from the legs and feet, and from organs in the abdomen and pelvis.

infertility: The inability to produce children.

infiltrating cancer: Cancer that has spread beyond the layer of tissue in which it developed and is growing into surrounding, healthy tissues. Also called invasive cancer.

inflammation: A response of redness, swelling, pain, and a feeling of heat in certain areas which is meant to protect tissues affected by injury or disease.

infusion: A method of putting fluids, including drugs, into the bloodstream. Also called intravenous infusion.

ingestion: Taking into the body by mouth

inositol: A type of sugar that differs from glucose in its chemical structure. Certain modified forms of inositol can be used by the body to transmit signals inside and between cells.

inositol hexaphosphate: (IP6) A substance that has been studied as a treatment for cancer. IP6 is found in large amounts in cereals and legumes. Also known as phytic acid.

insomnia: Difficulty in going to sleep or getting enough sleep.

insulin (IN-su-lin): A hormone made by the islet cells of the pancreas. Insulin controls the amount of sugar in the blood by moving it into the cells, where it can be used by the body for energy.

interferon (in-ter-FEER-on): A biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease). Interferons interfere with the division of cancer cells and can slow tumor growth. There are several types of interferons, including interferon-alpha, -beta, and -gamma. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases.

interleukin-1-alfa: IL-1-alfa. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's response to infection and disease). IL-1- alfa stimulates the growth and action of immune system cells that fight disease. IL-1-alfa is normally produced by the body, but it can also be made in the laboratory.

interleukin-11 (in-ter-LOO-kin): IL-11. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease) that stimulates immune response and may reduce toxicity to the gastrointestinal system resulting from cancer therapy. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases. Also called oprelvekin.

interleukin-12 (in-ter-LOO-kin): IL-12. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease) that enhances the ability of the immune system to kill tumor cells and may interfere with blood flow to the tumor. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases.

interleukin-2 (in-ter-LOO-kin): IL-2. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease) that stimulates the growth of certain disease-fighting blood cells in the immune system. These substances are normally produced by the body. Aldesleukin is IL-2 that is made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases.

interleukin-3 (in-ter-LOO-kin): IL-3. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease) that enhances the immune system's ability to fight tumor cells. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases.

interleukin-4 (in-ter-LOO-kin): IL-4. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease) that enhances the immune system's ability to fight tumor cells. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases.

interleukin-4 pe38kdel immunotoxin: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called immunotoxins.

interleukin-6 (in-ter-LOO-kin): IL-6. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's response to infection and disease). These substances are normally produced by the body, but they can also be made in the laboratory.

interleukins (in-ter-LOO-kins): Biological response modifiers (substances that can improve the body's natural response to disease) that help the immune system fight infection and cancer. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases.

internal radiation (ray-dee-AY-shun): A procedure in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters is placed directly into or near the tumor. Also called brachytherapy, implant radiation, or interstitial radiation therapy.

intestinal: Having to do with the intestines.

intestine (in-TES-tin): A long, tube-shaped organ in the abdomen that completes the process of digestion. There is both a large intestine and a small intestine. Also called the bowel.

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

intracarotid infusion: The introduction of fluids and drugs directly into the carotid artery, the main artery in the neck that carries blood from the heart to the brain.

intracellular: Inside a cell.

intracranial tumors: Tumors that occur in the brain.

intraepithelial (in-tra-eh-pih-THEEL-ee-ul): Within the layer of cells that form the surface or lining of an organ.

intrahepatic (in-tra-hep-AT-ik): Within the liver.

intrahepatic bile ducts: The bile ducts that pass through and drain bile from the liver.

intrahepatic infusion: The delivery of anticancer drugs directly to the blood vessels of the liver.

intramuscular: IM. Within or into muscle.

intramuscular injection: IM. Injection into a muscle.

intraoperative radiation therapy: IORT. Radiation treatment aimed directly at a tumor during surgery.

intraperitoneal (IN-tra-per-ih-toe-NEE-al): IP. Within the peritoneal cavity (the area that contains the abdominal organs).

intraperitoneal chemotherapy (IN-tra-per-ih-toe-NEE-al KEE-mo-THER-a-pee): Treatment in which anticancer drugs are put directly into the abdominal cavity through a thin tube.

intraperitoneal infusion: A method of delivering fluids and drugs directly into the abdominal cavity through a thin tube.

intraperitoneal radiation therapy (in-tra-per-ih-toe-NEE-al ray-dee-A-shun): Treatment in which a radioactive liquid is put directly into the abdomen through a thin tube.

intrathecal (in-tra-THEE-kal): Describes the fluid-filled space between the thin layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord. Drugs can be injected into the fluid or a sample of the fluid can be removed for testing.

intrathecal chemotherapy (in-tra-THEE-kal KEE-mo-THER-a-pee): Anticancer drugs that are injected into the fluid-filled space between the thin layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord.

intravenous (in-tra-VEE-nus): IV. Into a vein.

intravenous pyelogram (in-tra-VEE-nus PYE-el-o-gram): IVP. A series of x-rays of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. The x-rays are taken after a dye is injected into a blood vessel. The dye is concentrated in the urine, which outlines the kidneys, ureters, and bladder on the x-rays.

intravenous pyelography (in-tra-VEE-nus pye-LAH-gra-fee): IVP. X-ray study of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. The x-rays are taken after a dye is injected into a blood vessel. The dye is concentrated in the urine, which outlines the kidneys, ureters, and bladder on the x-rays.

intraventricular infusion: The delivery of a drug into a space within an organ.

intravesical (in-tra-VES-ih-kal): Within the bladder.

invasive cancer: Cancer that has spread beyond the layer of tissue in which it developed and is growing into surrounding, healthy tissues. Also called infiltrating cancer.

invasive cervical cancer: Cancer that has spread from the surface of the cervix to tissue deeper in the cervix or to other parts of the body.

ionomycin: An antibiotic drug used to treat infection.

IORT: Intraoperative radiation therapy. Radiation treatment aimed directly at a tumor during surgery.

ipsilateral: Having to do with the same side of the body.

irinotecan: An anticancer drug that belongs to a family of anticancer drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors. It is a camptothecin analogue. Also called CPT 11.

irreversible toxicity: Side effects that are caused by toxic substances or something harmful to the body and do not go away.

ISIS 2503: A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

ISIS 3521: A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

ISIS 5132: A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

islet cell cancer (EYE-let): Cancer arising from cells in the islets of Langerhans, which are found in the pancreas.

islets of Langerhans (EYE-lets of LANG-er-hanz): Cells in the pancreas that produce hormones (including insulin).

isoflavones: Plant compounds that are found in soy products. Soy isoflavones are being studied to see if they help prevent cancer.

isolated hepatic perfusion: A procedure in which a catheter is placed into the artery that provides blood to the liver; another catheter is placed into the vein that takes blood away from the liver. This temporarily separates the liver's blood supply from blood circulating throughout the rest of the body and allows high doses of anticancer drugs to be directed to the liver only.

isolated limb perfusion: A technique that may be used to deliver anticancer drugs directly to an arm or leg. The flow of blood to and from the limb is temporarily stopped with a tourniquet, and anticancer drugs are put directly into the blood of the limb. This allows the person to receive a high dose of drugs in the area where the cancer occurred. isolated lung perfusion: A surgical procedure during which the circulation of blood to the lungs is separated from the circulation of blood through the rest of the body, and a drug is delivered directly into the lung circulation. This allows a higher concentration of chemotherapy to reach tumors in the lungs.

isotretinoin: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids. It is used in the treatment of acne and psoriasis and is being studied in cancer prevention. Also called 13-cis retinoic acid.

itraconazole: A drug used to prevent or treat fungal infections; it belongs to the family of drugs called antifungal agents.

IV: Intravenous (in-tra-VEE-nus). Injected into a blood vessel.

IVP: Intravenous pyelogram or intravenous pyelography (in-tra-VEE-nus PYE-el-o-gram or pye-LAH-gra-fee). A series of x-rays of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. The x-rays are taken after a dye is injected into a blood vessel. The dye is concentrated in the urine, which outlines the kidneys, ureters, and bladder on the x-rays.

jaundice (JAWN-dis): A condition in which the skin and the whites of the eyes become yellow, urine darkens, and stool becomes clay colored. Jaundice occurs when the liver is not working properly or when a bile duct is blocked.

Kaposi's sarcoma (KAP-o-seez sar-KO-ma): A type of cancer characterized by the abnormal growth of blood vessels that develop into skin lesions or occur internally.

karenitecin: An anticancer drug that belongs to a family of anticancer drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors. It is a camptothecin analogue.

Karnofsky Performance Status: KPS. A standard way of measuring the ability of cancer patients to perform ordinary tasks. The scores range from 0 to 100, with a higher score indicating a better ability to carry out daily activities. KPS may be used to determine a patient's prognosis, to measure changes in functioning, or to decide if a patient could be included in a clinical trial.

keloid (KEY-loyd): A thick, irregular scar caused by excessive tissue growth at the site of an incision or wound.

keratan sulfate: A glycosaminoglycan (a type of polysaccharide) found in cartilage and in the cornea of the eye.

keratinocyte growth factor: A substance that stimulates the growth of epithelial cells that line the surface of the mouth and intestinal tract.

keratoacanthoma (KER-a-toe-AK-an-THOW-ma): A benign (noncancerous), rapidly growing skin tumor that usually occurs on sun-exposed areas of the skin and that can go away without treatment.

ketoconazole: A drug that treats infection caused by a fungus. It is also used as a treatment for prostate cancer because it can block the production of the male sex hormone.

ketorolac: A drug that belongs to a family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents. It is being studied in cancer prevention.

keyhole limpet hemocyanin: KLH. One of a group of drugs called immune modulators, given as a vaccine to help the body respond to cancer.

kidneys (KID-neez): A pair of organs in the abdomen that remove waste from the blood (as urine), produce erythropoietin, and are responsible for the long-term regulation of blood pressure.

killer cells: White blood cells that attack tumor cells and body cells that have been invaded by foreign substances.

Klebsiella: A bacteria that frequently causes lung, urinary tract, intestinal, and wound infections.

KRN5500: An anticancer drug that belongs to a family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics. It is an anthracycline.

KRN7000: A drug being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a biological response modifier that belongs to the family of drugs called glycosphingolipids or agelasphins.

KW2189: A semisynthetic anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics.

L-377,202: A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

L-778,123: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called enzyme inhibitors. It may inhibit the transformation of normal cells into cancer cells.

lactose intolerance: The inability to digest or absorb lactose, a type of sugar found in milk and other dairy products.

lamivudine: A drug used to treat infection caused by viruses.

laparoscopic-assisted colectomy: Surgery done with the aid of a laparoscope (a thin, lighted tube) to remove part or all of the colon through small incisions made in the wall of the abdomen.

laparoscopy (lap-a-RAHS-ko-pee): The insertion of a thin, lighted tube (called a laparoscope) through the abdominal wall to inspect the inside of the abdomen and remove tissue samples.

laparotomy (lap-a-RAH-toe-mee): A surgical incision made in the wall of the abdomen.

large cell carcinomas (kar-sin-O-mas): A group of lung cancers in which the cells are large and look abnormal when viewed under a microscope.

laryngeal (lair-IN-jee-al): Having to do with the larynx.

laryngectomee (lair-in-JEK-toe-mee): A person whose larynx (voice box) has been removed.

laryngectomy (lair-in-JEK-toe-mee): An operation to remove all or part of the larynx (voice box).

laryngoscope (lair-IN-jo-skope): A thin, lighted tube used to examine the larynx (voice box).

laryngoscopy (lair-in-GOS-ko-pee): Examination of the larynx (voice box) with a mirror (indirect laryngoscopy) or with a laryngoscope (direct laryngoscopy).

larynx (LAIR-inks): The area of the throat containing the vocal cords and used for breathing, swallowing, and talking. Also called the voice box.

laser (LAY-zer): A device that concentrates light into an intense, narrow beam used to cut or destroy tissue. It is used in microsurgery, photodynamic therapy, and for a variety of diagnostic purposes.

laser therapy: The use of an intensely powerful beam of light to kill cancer cells.

lectin: A complex molecule that has both protein and sugars. Lectins are able to bind to the outside of a cell and cause biochemical changes in it. Lectins are made by both animals and plants.

leflunomide: An anticancer drug that works by inhibiting a cancer cell growth factor. Also called SU101.

leiomyoma: A benign smooth-muscle tumor, usually in the uterus or gastrointestinal tract. Also called fibroid.

leiomyosarcoma: A tumor of the muscles in the uterus, abdomen, or pelvis.

lentinan: An extract of the mushroom Lentinus edodes (shiitake mushroom). It has been studied in Japan as a treatment for cancer.

lepirudin: A drug that inhibits blood clotting; it is being studied in cancer treatment.

leptomeningeal metastases: Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord.

leridistim: A substance that is being studied for its ability to increase numbers of white blood cells in people undergoing chemotherapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called colony-stimulating factors.

lerisetron: A drug that prevents or reduces nausea and vomiting.

lesion (LEE-zhun): An area of abnormal tissue change.

letrozole: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors. Letrozole is used to decrease estrogen production and suppress the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors.

leucovorin: A drug used to protect normal cells from high doses of the anticancer drug methotrexate. It is also used to increase the antitumor effects of fluorouracil and tegafur-uracil, an oral treatment alternative to intravenous fluorouracil.

leukapheresis: Removal of the blood to collect specific blood cells; the remaining blood is returned to the body.

leukemia (loo-KEE-mee-a): Cancer of blood-forming tissue.

leukocytes (LOO-ko-sites): Cells that help the body fight infections and other diseases. Also called white blood cells (WBCs).

leukoplakia (loo-ko-PLAY-kee-a): A white patch that may develop on mucous membranes such as the cheek, gums, or tongue and may become cancerous.

leuprolide: A drug that belongs to a family of drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues. It is used to block hormone production in the ovaries or testicles.

leuvectin: An agent that delivers the gene for interleukin-2 (IL-2) into cells to increase production of IL-2 by the cells.

levamisole: An antiparasitic drug that is also being studied in cancer therapy with fluorouracil.

levofloxacin: A substance used to treat bacterial infections. It belongs to the family of drugs called quinolone antibiotics.

LH-RH: Abbreviation for luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone, a hormone that controls the production of sex hormones in men and women.

Lhermitte's sign (lair-MEETS sign): A sensation similar to an electrical shock radiating from the back of the head down the spine as the neck is bent forward.

Li-Fraumeni syndrome: A rare, inherited predisposition to multiple cancers, caused by an alteration in the p53 tumor suppressor gene.

liarozole: An anticancer drug that promotes differentiation by increasing the levels of retinoic acid within the tumor.

ligation (lye-GAY-shun): The process of tying off blood vessels so that blood cannot flow to a part of the body or to a tumor.

light microscope: A microscope (device to magnify small objects) in which objects are lit directly by white light.

limb perfusion (per-FYOO-zhun): A technique that may be used to deliver anticancer drugs directly to an arm or leg. The flow of blood to and from the limb is temporarily stopped with a tourniquet, and anticancer drugs are put directly into the blood of the limb. This allows the person to receive a high dose of drugs in the area where the cancer occurred.

liothyronine sodium: A thyroid hormone. Also called triiodothyronine or T-3.

lipid: Fat.

liposarcoma: A rare cancer of the fat cells.

liposomal: A drug preparation that contains the active drug in very tiny fat particles. This fat-encapsulated drug is absorbed better, and its distribution to the tumor site is improved.

lisofylline: A drug that may protect healthy cells from chemotherapy and radiation without inhibiting the effects of these therapies on tumor cells.

liver: A large, glandular organ located in the upper abdomen. The liver cleanses the blood and aids in digestion by secreting bile.

liver cancer: A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the liver.

liver metastases: Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the liver.

liver scan: An image of the liver created on a computer screen or on film. A radioactive substance is injected into a blood vessel and travels through the bloodstream. It collects in the liver, especially in abnormal areas, and can be detected by the scanner.

LMB-1 immunotoxin: A toxic substance linked to an antibody that attaches to tumor cells and kills them.

LMB-2 immunotoxin: A toxic substance linked to an antibody that attaches to tumor cells and kills them.

LMB-7 immunotoxin: A toxic substance linked to an antibody that attaches to tumor cells and kills them.

LMB-9 immunotoxin: A toxic substance linked to an antibody that attaches to tumor cells and kills them.

lobaplatin: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called platinum compounds.

lobe: A portion of an organ such as the liver, lung, breast, or brain.

lobectomy (lo-BEK-toe-mee): The removal of a lobe.

lobradimil: A substance that is being studied for its ability to help other drugs reach the brain. It belongs to the family of drugs called bradykinin agonists. Also called RMP-7.

lobular carcinoma in situ (LOB-yoo-lar kar-sin-O-ma in SYE-too): LCIS. Abnormal cells found in the lobules of the breast. This condition seldom becomes invasive cancer; however, having lobular carcinoma in situ increases one's risk of developing breast cancer in either breast.

lobule (LOB-yule): A small lobe or subdivision of a lobe.

local cancer: An invasive malignant cancer confined entirely to the organ where the cancer began.

local therapy: Treatment that affects cells in the tumor and the area close to it.

localized: Restricted to the site of origin, without evidence of spread.

localized gallbladder cancer: Cancer found only in the tissues that make up the wall of the gallbladder; it can be removed completely in an operation.

locally advanced cancer: Cancer that has spread only to nearby tissues or lymph nodes.

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

loperamide hydrochloride: An antidiarrheal drug.

losoxantrone: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antipyrazoles.

lower GI series: X-rays of the colon and rectum (lower gastrointestinal tract) that are taken after the person is given a barium enema.

LU 79553: An anticancer drug that kills cancer cells by affecting DNA synthesis.

LU-103793: An anticancer drug that reduces the risk of tumor cell growth and reproduction.

lubricants (LOO-brih-kants): Oily or slippery substances.

lumbar puncture: A procedure in which a needle is put into the lower part of the spinal column to collect cerebrospinal fluid or to give anticancer drugs intrathecally. Also called a spinal tap.

lumpectomy (lump-EK-toe-mee): Surgery to remove the tumor and a small amount of normal tissue around it.

lung metastases: Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the lung.

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

luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist (LOO-tin-eye-zing. . .AG-o-nist): LH-RH agonist. A drug that inhibits the secretion of sex hormones. In men, LH-RH agonist causes testosterone levels to fall. In women, LH-RH agonist causes the levels of estrogen and other sex hormones to fall.

lutetium texaphyrin: A substance that is being studied in photodynamic therapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called metallotexaphyrins.

LY231514: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called enzyme inhibitors.

LY293111: A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called leukotriene B4 receptor antagonists.

LY335979: A substance that is being studied for its ability to reverse resistance to chemotherapy.

LY353381 hydrochloride: A hormone substance used in the treatment of some types of cancer.

lycopene: A red pigment found in tomatoes and some fruits.

lymph (limf): The almost colorless fluid that travels through the lymphatic system and carries cells that help fight infection and disease.

lymph node: A rounded mass of lymphatic tissue that is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. Also known as a lymph gland. Lymph nodes are spread out along lymphatic vessels and contain many lymphocytes, which filter the lymphatic fluid (lymph).

lymph node drainage: The flow of lymph from an area of tissue into a particular lymph node.

lymph node mapping: The use of dyes and radioactive substances to identify lymph nodes that contain tumor cells.

lymphadenectomy: A surgical procedure in which the lymph nodes are removed and examined to see whether they contain cancer. Also called lymph node dissection.

lymphangiogram (lim-FAN-jee-o-gram): X-rays of the lymphatic system. A dye is injected into a lymphatic vessel and travels throughout the lymphatic system. The dye outlines the lymphatic vessels and organs on the x-ray.

lymphangiography (lim-FAN-jee-AH-gra-fee): An x-ray study of the lymphatic system. A dye is injected into a lymphatic vessel and travels throughout the lymphatic system. The dye outlines the lymphatic vessels and organs on the x-ray.

lymphatic system (lim-FAT-ik): The tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infection and other diseases. This system includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, and lymph nodes and a network of thin tubes that carry lymph and white blood cells. These tubes branch, like blood vessels, into all the tissues of the body.

lymphedema (LIMF-eh-DEE-ma): A condition in which excess fluid collects in tissue and causes swelling. It may occur in the arm or leg after lymph vessels or lymph nodes in the underarm or groin are removed or treated with radiation.

lymphocyte (LIM-fo-site): A white blood cell. Lymphocytes have a number of roles in the immune system, including the production of antibodies and other substances that fight infection and diseases.

lymphocytic (lim-fo-SIT-ik): Referring to lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.

lymphography: An x-ray study of lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels made visible by the injection of a special dye.

lymphoid (LIM-foyd): Referring to lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Also refers to tissue in which lymphocytes develop.

lymphokine-activated killer cells: White blood cells that are stimulated in a laboratory to kill tumor cells. Also called LAK cells.

lymphoma (lim-FO-ma): Cancer that arises in cells of the lymphatic system.

lymphomatoid granulomatosis: Destructive growth of lymph cells, usually involving the lungs, skin, kidneys, and central nervous system. Grades I and II are not considered cancerous, but grade III is considered a lymphoma.

lymphoproliferative disorders: Diseases in which cells of the lymphatic system grow excessively. These disorders are often treated like cancer.

lymphosarcoma: An obsolete term for a malignant tumor of lymphatic tissue.

lymphoscintigraphy: A technique to identify the sentinel node (the first tumor-draining lymph node). A radiolabeled substance is injected at the site of the tumor and is taken up by nearby lymph nodes. The image is projected onto a computer screen to help the doctor determine the extent of the cancer.

lysosome: A sac-like compartment inside a cell that has enzymes that can break down cellular components that need to be destroyed.

M proteins: Antibodies or parts of antibodies found in unusually large amounts in the blood or urine of people with multiple myeloma.

macrophage: A type of white blood cell that surrounds and kills microorganisms, removes dead cells, and stimulates the action of other immune system cells.

mafosfamide: A form of cyclophosphamide that can be administered as an intrathecal infusion. Mafosfamide is being studied as an anticancer drug; it belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

MAGE-3: A gene found in some types of tumors.

magnetic resonance imaging (mag-NET-ik REZ-o-nans IM-a-jing): MRI. A procedure in which a magnet linked to a computer is used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. Also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).

maintenance therapy: Treatment that is given to help a primary (original) treatment keep working. Maintenance therapy is often given to help keep cancer in remission.

malabsorption syndrome: A group of symptoms such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea resulting from the body's inability to properly absorb nutrients.

malignancy: A cancerous tumor that can invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.

malignant (ma-LIG-nant): Cancerous; a growth with a tendency to invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.

malignant ascites: A condition in which fluid containing cancer cells collects in the abdomen.

malignant fibrous histiocytoma: A sarcoma that usually begins in soft tissue. It usually appears as an enlarging, painful mass that can cause fracture due to destruction of the bone by a spreading tumor.

mammogram (MAM-o-gram): An x-ray of the breast.

mammography (mam-OG-ra-fee): The use of x-rays to create a picture of the breast.

mantle field (MAN-tul): The area of the neck, chest, and lymph nodes in the armpit that are exposed to radiation.

marimastat: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. Marimastat is a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor.

marker: A diagnostic indication that disease may develop.

mastectomy (mas-TEK-toe-mee): Surgery to remove the breast (or as much of the breast tissue as possible).

matrix metalloproteinase: A member of a group of enzymes that can break down proteins, such as collagen, that are normally found in the spaces between cells in tissues (i.e., extracellular matrix proteins). Because these enzymes need zinc or calcium atoms to work properly, they are called metalloproteinases. Matrix metalloproteinases are involved in wound healing, angiogenesis, and tumor cell metastasis.

MDL 101,731: A drug that belongs to a family of drugs called ribonucleotide reductase inhibitors.

measurable disease: A tumor that can be accurately measured in size. This information can be used to judge response to treatment.

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

medial supraclavicular lymph nodes: Lymph nodes located above the collar bone and between the center of the body and a line drawn through the nipple to the shoulder.

median: A statistics term. The middle value in a set of measurements.

median survival time: The point in time from either diagnosis or treatment at which half of the patients with a given disease are expected to still be alive. Median survival time is one way to measure how well a given treatment has worked.

mediastinoscopy (MEE-dee-a-stin-AHS-ko-pee): A procedure in which a tube is inserted into the chest to view the organs in the area between the lungs and nearby lymph nodes. The tube is inserted through an incision above the breastbone. This procedure is usually performed to get a tissue sample from the lymph nodes on the right side of the chest.

mediastinum (mee-dee-a-STYE-num): The area between the lungs. The organs in this area include the heart and its large blood vessels, the trachea, the esophagus, the bronchi, and lymph nodes.

medical castration: Refers to the use of drugs to suppress the function of the ovaries or testicles.

medical oncologist (on-KOL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and biological therapy. A medical oncologist often serves as the main caretaker of someone who has cancer and coordinates treatment provided by other specialists.

medroxyprogesterone: A hormonal anticancer drug that is also used in cancer prevention. It belongs to the family of drugs called progestins.

medulloblastoma (MED-yoo-lo-blas-TOE-ma): A malignant brain tumor that begins in the lower part of the brain and can spread to the spine or to other parts of the body. Medulloblastomas are sometimes called primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET).

megestrol: A drug that belongs to the group of hormones called progestins, used as hormone therapy to block estrogen and to suppress the effects of estrogen and androgens. It is also used to stimulate the appetite in people with cancer.

melanin (MEL-a-nin): The substance that gives the skin its color.

melanocytes (mel-AN-o-sites): Cells in the skin that produce and contain the pigment called melanin.

melanoma: A form of skin cancer that arises in melanocytes, the cells that produce pigment. Melanoma usually begins in a mole.

melanoma vaccine: A cancer vaccine prepared from human melanoma cancer cells. It can be used alone or with other therapy in treating melanoma.

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

membrane: A very thin layer of tissue that covers a surface.

MEN-10755: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics.

meningeal: Refers to the meninges, the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord.

meningeal metastases: Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the tissue covering the brain, spinal cord, or both.

meninges (meh-NIN-jeez): The three membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord.

meningioma (meh-nin-jee-O-ma): A type of tumor that occurs in the meninges, the membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord. Meningiomas usually grow slowly.

menopause (MEN-o-pawz): The time of life when a woman's menstrual periods stop permanently. Also called "change of life."

menstrual cycle (MEN-stroo-al): The monthly cycle of hormonal changes from the beginning of one menstrual period to the beginning of the next.

menstruation: Periodic discharge of blood and tissue from the uterus. Until menopause, menstruation occurs approximately every 28 days when a woman is not pregnant.

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

mesenchymal: Refers to cells that develop into connective tissue, blood vessels, and lymphatic tissue.

mesenteric membrane: The peritoneal membrane that attaches the intestines to the abdominal wall near the back.

mesna: A drug that helps protect the kidneys and bladder from the toxic effects of anticancer drugs such as ifosfamide and cyclophosphamide.

metabolic: Having to do with metabolism.

metabolic disorder: A condition in which normal metabolic processes are disrupted, usually because of a missing enzyme.

metabolic therapy: Treatment to correct changes in metabolism that can be caused by disease.

metabolism: The total of all chemical changes that take place in a cell or an organism. These changes produce energy and basic materials needed for important life processes.

metaplasia: A change of cells to a form that does not normally occur in the tissue in which it is found.

metaplastic carcinoma: A general term used to describe cancer that begins in cells that have changed into another cell type (for example, a squamous cell of the esophagus changing to resemble a cell of the stomach). In some cases, metaplastic changes alone may mean there is an increased chance of cancer developing at the site.

metastasis (meh-TAS-ta-sis): The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another. Tumors formed from cells that have spread are called "secondary tumors" and contain cells that are like those in the original (primary) tumor. The plural is metastases.

metastasize (meh-TAS-ta-size): To spread from one part of the body to another. When cancer cells metastasize and form secondary tumors, the cells in the metastatic tumor are like those in the original (primary) tumor.

metastatic: Having to do with metastasis, which is the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another.

metastatic cancer: Cancer that has spread from the place in which it started to other parts of the body.

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

methoxsalen: A drug used in ultraviolet light therapy.

methylphenidate: A drug that is a central nervous system stimulant.

methylprednisolone: A corticosteroid hormone replacement.

metoclopramide: A drug that prevents or reduces nausea and vomiting.

metronidazole: A drug used to treat bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections. It is also being studied in the treatment of some cancers.

MG98: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antisense compounds. These drugs interfere with production of certain proteins in the cell.

microorganism: An organism that can be seen only through a microscope. Microorganisms include bacteria, protozoa, algae, and fungi. Although viruses are not considered living organisms, they are sometimes classified as microorganisms.

mifepristone: An anticancer drug that blocks the action of progesterone, a hormone that affects the growth of some cancers.

milligram: A measure of weight. A milligram is approximately 450,000-times smaller than a pound and 28,000-times smaller than an ounce.

milliliter: A measure of volume for a liquid. A milliliter is approximately 950-times smaller than a quart and 30-times smaller than a fluid ounce. A milliliter of liquid and a cubic centimeter (cc) of liquid are the same.

millimeter: A measure of length. A millimeter is approximately 26-times smaller than an inch.

mineral: A nutrient required to maintain health.

misoprostol: A radioprotective agent that belongs to the family of drugs called prostaglandins.

mistletoe lectin: A substance that comes from the mistletoe plant, and that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. A lectin is a complex molecule that has both protein and sugars. Lectins are able to bind to the outside of a cell and cause biochemical changes in it. Lectins are made by both animals and plants.

mitochondria: Parts of a cell where aerobic production (also known as cell respiration) takes place.

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

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

mitotane: An anticancer drug used in treating adrenocortical cancer and ACTH-producing pituitary tumors (Cushing's disease).

mitotic inhibitors: Drugs that kill cancer cells by interfering with cell division (mitostis).

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

mivobulin isethionate: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called CI-980.

mole: A benign growth on the skin (usually tan, brown, or flesh-colored) that contains a cluster of melanocytes and surrounding supportive tissue.

molecule: A chemical made up of two or more atoms. The atoms in a molecule can be the same (an oxygen molecule has two oxygen atoms) or different (a water molecule has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom). Biological molecules, such as proteins and DNA, can be made up of many thousands of atoms.

monoclonal antibodies (MAH-no-KLO-nul AN-tih-BAH-deez): Laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells wherever they are in the body. Many monoclonal antibodies are used in cancer detection or therapy; each one recognizes a different protein on certain cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies can be used alone, or they can be used to deliver drugs, toxins, or radioactive material directly to a tumor.

monoclonal antibody 3F8: 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.

monocyte: A type of white blood cell.

Montanide ISA-51: A drug used in vaccine therapy to stimulate the immune system.

morphine: A narcotic drug used in the treatment of pain.

morphology: The science of the form and structure of organisms (plants, animals, and other forms of life).

motor: In medicine, having to do with the movement of body parts.

MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging (mag-NET-ik REZ-o- nans IM-a-jing). A procedure in which a magnet linked to a computer is used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. Also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).

MS 209: A substance that is being studied for its ability to make cancer cells respond better to chemotherapy drugs to which they have become resistant. It belongs to the family of drugs called quinolone antibiotics.

mucin/peptide: A protein/sugar compound made by some cancer cells.

mucositis: A complication of some cancer therapies in which the lining of the digestive system becomes inflamed. Often seen as sores in the mouth.

mucus: A thick, slippery fluid produced by the membranes that line certain organs of the body, including the nose, mouth, throat, and vagina.

muJ591 monoclonal antibody: 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.

multicenter study: A clinical trial that is carried out at more than one medical institution.

multidrug resistance: Adaptation of tumor cells to anticancer drugs in ways that make the drugs less effective.

multidrug resistance inhibition: Treatment used to make cancer cells less resistant to anticancer drugs.

multimodality treatment: Therapy that combines more than one method of treatment.

multiple sclerosis: A disorder of the central nervous system marked by weakness, numbness, a loss of muscle coordination, and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control. Multiple sclerosis is thought to be an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system destroys myelin. Myelin is a substance that contains both protein and fat (lipid) and serves as a nerve insulator and helps in the transmission of nerve signals.

mung bean: A bean grown in warm climates. It is usually used for its seed and bean sprouts. Mung bean may have anticancer effects.

muromonab-CD3 monoclonal antibody: 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.

musculoskeletal: Having to do with muscles, bones, and cartilage.

mutate: To change the genetic material of a cell. Then changes (mutations) can be harmful, beneficial, or have no effect.

mutation: Any change in the DNA of a cell. Mutations may be caused by mistakes during cell division, or they may be caused by exposure to DNA-damaging agents in the environment. Mutations can be harmful, beneficial, or have no effect. If they occur in cells that make eggs or sperm, they can be inherited; if mutations occur in other types of cells, they are not inherited. Certain mutations may lead to cancer or other diseases.

mycophenolate mofetil: A drug that is being studied for its effectiveness in preventing graft-versus-host disease and autoimmune disorders.

mycosis fungoides (mye-KO-sis fun-GOY-deez): A type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that first appears on the skin and can spread to the lymph nodes or other organs such as the spleen, liver, or lungs.

mycostatin: A drug that treats infections caused by fungi.

myelin (MYE-eh-lin): The fatty substance that covers and protects nerves.

myelodysplasia: Abnormal bone marrow cells that may lead to myelogenous leukemia.

myelodysplastic syndrome (MYE-eh-lo-dis-PLAS-tik SIN-drome): Disease in which the bone marrow does not function normally. Also called preleukemia or smoldering leukemia.

myelofibrosis: A disorder in which the bone marrow is replaced by fibrous tissue.

myelogenous (mye-eh-LAH-jen-us): Produced by, or originating in, the bone marrow.

myelogram (MYE-eh-lo-gram): An x-ray of the spinal cord after an injection of dye into the space between the lining of the spinal cord and brain.

myeloid (MYE-eh-loyd): Pertaining to, derived from, or manifesting certain features of the bone marrow. In some cases also pertains to certain types of non-lymphocyte white blood cells found in the bone marrow, including granulocyte, monocyte, and platelet lineages. Also called myelogenous.

myeloma: Cancer that arises in plasma cells, a type of white blood cell.

myeloproliferative disorders: Diseases in which too many blood cells are made in the bone marrow.

myelosuppression: A condition in which bone marrow activity is decreased, resulting in fewer red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Myelosuppression is a side effect of some cancer treatments.

myelosuppressive therapy: Treatment that inhibits blood cell production.

myometrium (mye-o-MEE-tree-um): The muscular outer layer of the uterus.

N-acetyl cysteine: An antioxidant drug that may keep cancer cells from developing or reduce the risk of growth of existing cancer.

nasal: By or having to do with the nose.

nasopharynx (NAY-zo-fair-inks): The upper part of the throat behind the nose. An opening on each side of the nasopharynx leads into the ear.

natural killer cells: NK cells. A type of white blood cell that contains granules with enzymes that can kill tumor cells or microbial cells. Also called large granular lymphocytes (LGL).

nebulizer: A device used to turn liquid into a fine spray.

neck dissection (dye-SEK-shun): Surgery to remove lymph nodes and other tissues in the neck.

needle biopsy: The removal of tissue or fluid with a needle for examination under a microscope. Also called fine-needle aspiration.

negative axillary lymph nodes: Lymph nodes in the armpit that are free of cancer.

nelfinavir mesylate: A drug that interferes with the ability of a virus to make copies of itself.

neoadjuvant therapy: Treatment given before the primary treatment. Neoadjuvant therapy can be chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy.

neoplasia (NEE-o-PLAY-zha): Abnormal and uncontrolled cell growth.

neoplasm: A new growth of benign or malignant tissue.

neoplastic meningitis: Tumor cells that have spread from the original (primary) tumor to the tissue that covers the brain, spinal cord, or both.

nephrectomy (nef-REK-toe-mee): Surgery to remove a kidney. Radical nephrectomy removes the kidney, the adrenal gland, nearby lymph nodes, and other surrounding tissue. Simple nephrectomy removes only the kidney. Partial nephrectomy removes the tumor but not the entire kidney.

nephrotomogram (nef-ro-TOE-mo-gram): A series of x-rays of the kidneys. The x-rays are taken from different angles and show the kidneys clearly, without the shadows of the organs around them.

neuroblastoma: Cancer that arises in immature nerve cells and affects mostly infants and children.

neuroectodermal tumor: A tumor of the central or peripheral nervous system.

neuroendocrine: Describes the production of hormone-like substances by neurons or neuron-like cells and the way the nervous system and the endocrine system work together.

neuroendocrine tumor: A tumor derived from cells that release a hormone in response to a signal from the nervous system. Some examples of neuroendocrine tumors are carcinoid tumors, islet cell tumors, medullary thyroid carcinoma, and pheochromocytoma. These tumors secrete hormones in excess, causing a variety of symptoms.

neurologic: Having to do with nerves or the nervous system.

neurologist (noo-ROL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nervous system.

neuroma (noo-RO-ma): A tumor that arises in nerve cells.

neuropathy: A problem in any part of the nervous system except the brain and spinal cord. Neuropathies can be caused by infection, toxic substances, or disease.

neuropeptide: A member of a class of protein-like molecules made in the brain. Neuropeptides consist of short chains of amino acids, with some functioning as neurotransmitters and some functioning as hormones.

neurosurgeon (NOO-ro-SER-jun): A doctor who specializes in surgery on the brain, spine, and other parts of the nervous system.

neurotoxicity: The tendency of some treatments to cause damage to the nervous system.

neurotoxin: A substance that is poisonous to nerve tissue.

neutropenia: An abnormal decrease in the number of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell.

neutrophil (NOO-tro-fil): A type of white blood cell.

nevus (NEE-vus): A benign growth on the skin, such as a mole. A mole is a cluster of melanocytes and surrounding supportive tissue that usually appears as a tan, brown, or flesh-colored spot on the skin. The plural of nevus is nevi (NEE-vye).

NG-monomethyl-L-arginine: An amino acid derivative used to counteract high blood pressure caused by interleukin-2.

niacinamide: A vitamin being studied to increase the effect of radiation therapy on tumor cells. Also called nicotinamide.

nilutamide: A drug that blocks the effects of male hormones in the body. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiandrogens.

nimodipine: Belongs to a family of drugs called calcium channel blockers. It is being investigated for use with anticancer drugs to prevent or overcome drug resistance and improve response to chemotherapy.

nipple discharge: Fluid coming from the nipple.

nitric acid: A toxic, corrosive, colorless liquid used to make fertilizers, dyes, explosives, and other chemicals.

nitrocamptothecin: An alkaloid drug belonging to a class of anticancer agents called topoisomerase inhibitors.

nitrosoureas (nye-TRO-so-yoo-REE-ahz): A group of anticancer drugs that can cross the blood-brain barrier. Carmustine and lomustine are nitrosoureas.

node-negative: Cancer that has not spread to the lymph nodes.

node-positive: Cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes.

nolatrexed: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called thymidylate synthase inhibitors. Also called AG337.

nonblinded: Describes a clinical trial or other experiment in which the researchers know what treatments are being given to each study subject or experimental group. If human subjects are involved, they know what treatments they are receiving.

nonhematologic cancer: Cancer that does not begin in the blood or bone marrow.

nonmalignant: Not cancerous.

nonmalignant hematologic disorders: Disorders of the blood, some of which lead to leukemia.

nonmelanoma skin cancer: Skin cancer that arises in basal cells or squamous cells but not in melanocytes (pigment-producing cells of the skin).

nonmelanomatous: Skin cancer that arises in basal cells or squamous cells but not in melanocytes (pigment-producing cells of the skin).

nonmetastatic: Cancer that has not spread from the primary (original) site to other sites in the body.

nonrandomized clinical trial: A clinical trial in which the participants are not assigned by chance into different groups. Participants may choose which group they want to be in or they may be assigned to groups by the researchers.

nonseminoma (non-sem-ih-NO-ma): A group of testicular cancers that begin in the germ cells (cells that give rise to sperm). Nonseminomas are identified by the type of cell in which they begin and include embryonal carcinoma, teratoma, choriocarcinoma, and yolk sac carcinoma.

nonspecific immune cells: Cells such as phagocytes and macrophages that respond to many antigens, not just one antigen.

novobiocin: An antibiotic drug used to treat infection.

NR-LU-10 antigen: A protein found on the surface of some cancers.

NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. A group of drugs that decrease fever, swelling, pain, and redness.

nuclear magnetic resonance imaging: NMRI. A procedure in which a magnet linked to a computer is used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. Also called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

nystatin: A drug that treats infections caused by fungi.

O(6)-benzylguanine: A drug that may improve the response of cancer cells to chemotherapy.

oat cell cancer: A type of lung cancer in which the cells look like oats when viewed under a microscope. Also called small cell lung cancer.

observation: Closely monitoring a patient's condition but withholding treatment until symptoms appear or change. Also called watchful waiting.

obstruction: Blockage of a passageway.

octreotide: A drug similar to the naturally occurring growth hormone inhibitor somatostatin. Octreotide is used to treat diarrhea and flushing associated with certain types of tumors.

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

oltipraz: A drug used in cancer prevention.

omega-3 fatty acid: A type of fat obtained in the diet and involved in immunity.

omentum (oh-MEN-tum): A fold of the peritoneum (the thin tissue that lines the abdomen) that surrounds the stomach and other organs in the abdomen.

omeprazole: A drug that inhibits gastric acid secretion.

Ommaya reservoir (o-MYE-a REZ-er-vwahr): A device surgically placed under the scalp and used to deliver anticancer drugs to the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

oncogene: A gene that normally directs cell growth. If altered, an oncogene can promote or allow the uncontrolled growth of cancer. Alterations can be inherited or caused by an environmental exposure to carcinogens.

oncologist (on-KOL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in treating cancer. Some oncologists specialize in a particular type of cancer treatment. For example, a radiation oncologist specializes in treating cancer with radiation.

oncology: The study of cancer.

oncology nurse: A nurse who specializes in treating and caring for people who have cancer.

ondansetron: A drug that prevents or reduces nausea and vomiting.

ONYX-015: A modified cold virus that selectively grows in and destroys certain types of cancer cells and leaves normal cells undamaged.

oophorectomy (o-o-for-EK-toe-mee): Surgery to remove one or both ovaries.

ophthalmoscope (off-THAL-mo-skope): A lighted instrument used to examine the inside of the eye, including the retina and the optic nerve.

optic nerve: The nerve that carries messages from the retina to the brain.

oral: By or having to do with the mouth.

oral surgeon: A dentist with special training in surgery of the mouth and jaw.

orchiectomy (or-kee-EK-toe-mee): Surgery to remove one or both testicles.

organism: A living thing, such as an animal, a plant, a bacterium, or a fungus.

oropharynx (or-o-FAIR-inks): The middle part of the throat that includes the soft palate, the base of the tongue, and the tonsils.

osteogenic sarcoma: A malignant tumor of the bone. Also called osteosarcoma.

osteolytic: Causing the breakdown of bone.

osteoporosis (OSS-tee-oh-pa-ROW-sis): A condition that is characterized by a decrease in bone mass and density, causing bones to become fragile.

osteosarcoma (AHS-tee-o-sar-KO-ma): A cancer of the bone that affects primarily children and adolescents. Also called osteogenic sarcoma.

ostomy (AHS-toe-mee): A surgically created opening from an area inside the body to the outside. Colostomy and urostomy are types of ostomies. Also called stoma.

otolaryngologist (AH-toe-lar-in-GOL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the ear, nose, and throat. Also called an ENT doctor.

ovarian: Having to do with the ovaries, the female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed. The ovaries are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus.

ovarian ablation: Surgery, radiation therapy, or a drug treatment to stop the functioning of the ovaries. Also called ovarian suppression.

ovaries (O-va-reez): The pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed. The ovaries are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus.

overall survival: The percentage of subjects in a study who have survived for a defined period of time. Usually reported as time since diagnosis or treatment. Often called the survival rate.

overexpress: An excess of a particular protein on the surface of a cell.

ovulation (ov-yoo-LA-shun): The release of an egg from an ovary during the menstrual cycle.

oxaliplatin: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called platinum compounds.

OXi-104: An anticancer drug being evaluated in combination with cisplatin.

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

oxidative stress: A condition in which antioxidant levels are lower than normal. Antioxidant levels are usually measured in blood plasma.

P-30 protein: An anticancer drug that may inhibit cancer cell growth.

P-32: A radioactive form of phosphorus used in the treatment of cancer.

p-value: A statistics term. A measure of probability that a difference between groups during an experiment happened by chance. For example, a p-value of .01 (p = .01) means there is a 1 in 100 chance the result occurred by chance. The lower the p-value, the more likely it is that the difference between groups was caused by treatment.

p53 gene: A tumor suppressor gene that normally inhibits the growth of tumors. This gene is altered in many types of cancer.

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

PALA: An anticancer drug that is being studied to increase the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drug fluorouracil.

palate (PAL-et): The roof of the mouth. The front portion is bony (hard palate), and the back portion is muscular (soft palate).

palliative therapy: Treatment given to relieve symptoms caused by advanced cancer. Palliative therapy does not alter the course of a disease but improves the quality of life.

palpation: Examination by pressing on the surface of the body to feel the organs or tissues underneath.

pamidronate: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called bisphosphonates. Pamidronate is used as treatment for abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood.

panacea: A cure-all.

pancreas: A glandular organ located in the abdomen. It makes pancreatic juices, which contain enzymes that aid in digestion, and it produces several hormones, including insulin. The pancreas is surrounded by the stomach, intestines, and other organs.

pancreatectomy (pan-kree-a-TEK-toe- mee): Surgery to remove the pancreas. In a total pancreatectomy, a portion of the stomach, the duodenum, common bile duct, gallbladder, spleen, and nearby lymph nodes also are removed.

pancreatic: Having to do with the pancreas.

pancreatic enzymes: A group of proteins secreted by the pancreas which aid in the digestion of food.

pancreatic juices: Fluids made by the pancreas. Pancreatic juices contain proteins called enzymes that aid in digestion.

Pap test: The collection of cells from the cervix for examination under a microscope. It is used to detect changes that may be cancer or may lead to cancer, and can show noncancerous conditions, such as infection or inflammation. Also called a Pap smear.

papillary tumor (PAP-ih-lar-ee TOO-mer): A tumor shaped like a small mushroom, with its stem attached to the epithelial layer (inner lining) of an organ.

papilledema (pap-il-eh-DEE-ma): Swelling around the optic disk.

paracentesis: Insertion of a thin needle or tube into the abdomen to remove fluid from the peritoneal cavity.

parageusia: A bad taste in the mouth. Also called dysgeusia.

paralysis (pa-RAL-ih-sis): Loss of ability to move all or part of the body.

paraneoplastic syndrome (pair-a-nee-o-PLAS-tik): A group of symptoms that may develop when substances released by some cancer cells disrupt the normal function of surrounding cells and tissue.

parasitic: Having to do with or being a parasite. A parasite is an animal or a plant that lives on or in an organism of another species and gets at least some of its nutrients from it.

paresthesias: Abnormal touch sensations, such as burning or prickling, that occur without an outside stimulus.

Parkinson's disease: A progressive disorder of the nervous system marked by muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, decreased mobility, stooped posture,slow voluntary movements, and a mask-like facial expression.

paroxetine hydrochloride: An antidepressant drug.

partial remission: The shrinking, but not complete disappearance, of a tumor in response to therapy. Also called partial response.

partial response: A decrease in the size of a tumor, or in the extent of cancer in the body, in response to treatment.

passive antibody therapy: Treatment with injections of antibodies made in another animal or in the laboratory.

pathologic fracture: A broken bone caused by disease, often by the spread of cancer to the bone.

pathologist (pa-THOL-o-jist): A doctor who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.

peau d'orange: A dimpled condition of the skin of the breast, resembling the skin of an orange, sometimes found in inflammatory breast cancer.

pediatric (pee-dee-AT-rik): Having to do with children.

pedigree: A record of one's ancestors, offspring, siblings, and their offspring that may be used to determine the pattern of certain genes or disease inheritance within a family.

PEG-interferon alfa-2B: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. PEG-interferon alfa-2B is a cytokine. Also called SCH 54031.

PEG-MGDF: A synthetic form of a protein that is normally made in the body to regulate the production of platelets.

pegaspargase: A modified form of asparaginase, an anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs derived from enzymes.

peldesine: A substance that is being studied for the treatment of cancer.

pelvis: The lower part of the abdomen, located between the hip bones.

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

penicillamine: A drug that removes copper from the body and is used to treat diseases in which there is an excess of this metal. It is also being studied as a possible angiogenesis inhibitor in brain tumors.

penicillin: An antibiotic drug used to treat infection.

pentetic acid calcium: A drug that protects healthy tissues from the toxic effects of anticancer drugs.

pentosan polysulfate: A drug used to relieve pain or discomfort associated with chronic inflammation of the bladder. It is also being evaluated for its protective effects on the gastrointestinal tract in people undergoing radiation therapy.

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

pentoxifylline: A drug used to prevent blood clotting and as a treatment that may help decrease weight loss in people with cancer.

peptide: Any compound consisting of two or more amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Peptides are combined to make proteins.

peptide 946: A protein that causes white blood cells to recognize and destroy melanoma cells.

percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (per-kyoo-TAN-ee-us trans-heh-PAT-ik ko-LAN-jee-AH-gra-fee): A procedure to x-ray the hepatic and common bile ducts. A contrasting agent is injected into the liver or bile duct, and the ducts are then x-rayed to find the point of obstruction. Also called PTC.

performance status: A measure of how well a patient is able to perform ordinary tasks and carry out daily activities.

perfusion: Bathing an organ or tissue with a fluid. In regional perfusion, a specific area of the body (usually an arm or a leg) receives high doses of anticancer drugs through a blood vessel. Such a procedure is performed to treat cancer that has not spread.

perfusion magnetic resonance imaging: A type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) used to check the flow of blood to normal tissue and diseased tissue.

pericardial effusion: An abnormal collection of fluid inside the sac that covers the heart.

perifosine: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylphospholipids.

perillyl alcohol: A drug used in cancer prevention that belongs to the family of plant drugs called monoterpenes.

perimenopausal: The time of a woman's life when menstrual periods become irregular. Refers to the time near menopause.

perineal prostatectomy (peh-rih-NEE-al pros-ta-TEK-toe-mee): Surgery to remove the prostate through an incision made between the scrotum and the anus.

perioperative: Around the time of surgery; usually lasts from the time of going into the hospital or doctor's office for surgery until the time the patient goes home.

peripheral blood: Blood circulating throughout the body.

peripheral blood lymphocyte therapy: A treatment for Epstein-Barr virus infection or overgrowth of white blood cells (lymphocytes) after an organ or bone marrow transplant. Specific lymphocytes from a sibling donor are infused into the patient to try and reverse these conditions.

peripheral stem cell support (per-IF-er-al): A method of replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by cancer treatment. Immature blood cells (stem cells) in the circulating blood that are similar to those in the bone marrow are removed from the blood before treatment and given back after treatment. Also called peripheral stem cell transplantation.

peripheral stem cell transplantation (per-IF-er-al): A method of replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by cancer treatment. Immature blood cells (stem cells) in the circulating blood that are similar to those in the bone marrow are given after treatment to help the bone marrow recover and continue producing healthy blood cells. Transplantation may be autologous (an individual's own blood cells saved earlier), allogeneic (blood cells donated by someone else), or syngeneic (blood cells donated by an identical twin). Also called peripheral stem cell support.

peripheral stem cells: Immature cells found circulating in the bloodstream. New blood cells develop from peripheral stem cells.

peristalsis (pair-ih-STAL-sis): The rippling motion of muscles in the intestine or other tubular organs characterized by the alternate contraction and relaxation of the muscles that propel the contents onward.

peritoneal: Having to do with the peritoneum (the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen).

peritoneal cavity: The space within the abdomen that contains the intestines, the stomach, and the liver. It is bound by thin membranes.

peritoneal perfusion: A method of delivering fluids and drugs directly to tumors in the peritoneal cavity.

peritoneum (PAIR-ih-toe-NEE-um): The tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.

pernicious anemia (per-NISH-us a-NEE- mee-a): A type of anemia (low red blood cell count) caused by the body's inability to absorb vitamin B12.

PET scan: Positron emission tomography scan. A computerized image of the metabolic activity of the body tissues used to determine the presence of disease.

petechiae (peh-TEE-kee-a): Pinpoint, unraised, round red spots under the skin caused by bleeding.

phagocyte: An immune system cell that can surround and kill microorganisms and remove dead cells. Phagocytes include macrophages.

pharynx (FAIR-inks): The hollow tube about 5 inches long that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes to the stomach).

phase I trial: Phase I trials are the first step in testing a new treatment in humans. These studies test the best way to give a new treatment (for example, by mouth, intravenous infusion, or injection) and the best dose. The dose is usually increased a little at a time in order to find the highest dose that does not cause harmful side effects. Because little is known about the possible risks and benefits of the treatments being tested, phase I trials usually include only a small number of patients who have not been helped by other treatments.

phase I/II trial: A trial to study the safety, dosage levels, and response to a new treatment.

phase II trial: Phase II cancer trials test whether a new treatment has an anticancer effect (for example, whether it shrinks a tumor or improves blood test results) and whether it works against a certain type of cancer.

phase II/III trial: A trial to study response to a new treatment and the effectiveness of the treatment compared with the standard treatment regimen.

phase III trial: Phase III trials compare the results of people taking a new treatment with the results of people taking the standard treatment (for example, which group has better survival rates or fewer side effects). In most cases, studies move into phase III trials only after a treatment seems to work in phases I and II. Phase III trials may include hundreds of people.

phase IV trial: After a treatment has been approved and is being marketed, it is studied in a phase IV trial to evaluate side effects that were not apparent in the phase III trial. Thousands of people are involved in a phase IV trial.

phenethyl isothiocyanate: PEITC. A naturally occurring compound found in some cruciferous vegetables. It is being studied as an agent to prevent cancer.

phenobarbital: A sedative/anticonvulsant barbiturate that has been used to treat diarrhea and to increase the antitumor effect of other therapies.

phenylacetate: A drug being studied in the treatment of cancer.

phenylbutyrate: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called differentiating agents.

phosphorus-32: A radioactive form of phosphorus used in the treatment of cancer. It is also used to help locate areas of DNA damage.

photodynamic therapy (fo-toe-dye-NAM-ik): Treatment with drugs that become active when exposed to light and kill cancer cells.

photofrin: A drug used in photodynamic therapy that is absorbed by tumor cells; when absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, it becomes active and kills the cancer cells.

photosensitizer: A drug used in photodynamic therapy. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, the drug becomes active and kills the cancer cells.

phyllodes tumor: Rare benign or malignant tumors of the breast.

physiologic: Having to do with the functions of the body. When used in the phrase "physiologic age," it refers to an age assigned by general health, as opposed to calendar age.

pigment: A substance that gives color to tissue. Pigments are responsible for the color of skin, eyes, and hair.

pilocarpine: A drug used to increase salivation in people who have dry mouth caused by opioids or radiation therapy. Pilocarpine belongs to the family of drugs called alkaloids.

pilot study: The initial study examining a new method or treatment.

pineal gland (PIN-ee-al): A tiny organ located in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal body or pineal organ.

piperacillin-tazobactam: A combination of drugs used to fight infections in people who have cancer. Piperacillin is a synthetic penicillin; tazobactam enhances the effectiveness of piperacillin.

piritrexim: An anticancer drug.

pituitary gland (pih-TOO-ih-tair-ee): The main endocrine gland; it produces hormones that control other glands and many body functions, especially growth.

placebo: An inactive substance that looks the same as, and is administered in the same way as, a drug in a clinical trial.

placenta: The organ that nourishes the developing fetus in the uterus.

placental blood transplantation: The transfer of blood from a placenta to an individual whose own blood production system is suppressed. Placental blood contains high levels of stem cells needed to produce new blood cells. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer and severe blood disorders such as aplastic anemia. Also called umbilical cord blood transplant.

plant sterols: Plant-based compounds that can compete with dietary cholesterol to be absorbed by the intestines. This results in lower blood cholesterol levels. Also known as phytosterols.

plasma (PLAS-ma): The clear, yellowish, fluid part of the blood that carries the blood cells. The proteins that form blood clots are in plasma.

plasma cells: A type of white blood cell that produces antibodies.

plasmacytoma (PLAS-ma-sye-TOE-ma): A tumor made up of cancerous plasma cells.

plasmapheresis (plas-ma-fer-EE-sis): The process of separating certain cells from the plasma in the blood by a machine; only the cells are returned to the person. Plasmapheresis can be used to remove excess antibodies from the blood.

plastic surgeon: A surgeon who specializes in reducing scarring or disfigurement that may occur as a result of accidents, birth defects, or treatment for diseases.

platelets (PLAYT-lets): A type of blood cell that helps prevent bleeding by causing blood clots to form. Also called thrombocytes.

platinum: A metal that is an important component of some anticancer drugs, such as cisplatin and carboplatin.

pleura (PLOOR-a): A thin layer of tissue covering the lungs and the wall of the chest cavity to protect and cushion the lungs. A small amount of fluid that acts as a lubricant allows the lungs to move smoothly in the chest cavity during breathing.

pleural cavity: A space enclosed by the pleura (thin tissue covering the lungs and lining the interior wall of the chest cavity). It is bound by thin membranes.

pleural effusion: An abnormal collection of fluid between the thin layers of tissue (pleura) lining the lung and the wall of the chest cavity.

pM-81 monoclonal antibody: 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.

pneumatic larynx (noo-MAT-ik LAIR- inks): A device that uses air to produce sound to help a laryngectomee talk.

pneumonectomy (noo-mo-NEK-toe-mee): An operation to remove an entire lung.

pneumonia (noo-MONE-ya): An inflammatory infection that occurs in the lung.

PNU 166148: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors. It is being studied for its ability to treat cancer.

polyneuritis: Inflammation of several peripheral nerves at the same time.

polyp (POL-ip): A growth that protrudes from a mucous membrane.

polyposis: The development of numerous polyps (growths that protrude from a mucous membrane).

polysaccharide: A type of carbohydrate. It contains sugar molecules that are linked together chemically.

porfimer sodium: An anticancer drug that is also used in cancer prevention. It belongs to the family of drugs called photosensitizing agents.

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

port-a-cath: A device placed surgically under the skin in the chest in order to give drugs into a large vein.

positive axillary lymph nodes: Lymph nodes in the area of the armpit (axilla) to which cancer has spread. This spread is determined by surgically removing some of the lymph nodes and examining them under a microscope to see whether cancer cells are present.

positron emission tomography scan: PET scan. A computerized image of the metabolic activity of body tissues used to determine the presence of disease.

postmenopausal: Refers to the time after menopause. Menopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods stop permanently; also called "change of life."

postoperative: After surgery.

postremission therapy: Anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells that survive after remission induction therapy.

potassium hydroxide: A toxic and highly corrosive chemical used to make soap, in bleaching, and as a paint remover. It is used in small amounts as a food additive and in the preparatrion of some drugs.

precancerous (pre-KAN-ser-us): A term used to describe a condition that may (or is likely to) become cancer. Also called premalignant.

precancerous polyps: Growths that protrude from a mucous membrane. Precancerous polyps may (or are likely to) become cancer.

predictive factor (pre-DIK-tiv factor): A situation or condition that may increase a person's risk of developing a certain disease or disorder.

prednisolone: A synthetic corticosteroid used in the treatment of blood cell cancers (leukemias) and lymph system cancers (lymphomas).

prednisone: Belongs to the family of drugs called steroids and is used to treat several types of cancer and other disorders. Prednisone also inhibits the body's immune response.

preleukemia (PREE-loo-KEE-mee-a): Disease in which the bone marrow does not function normally. Also called myelodysplastic syndrome or smoldering leukemia.

premalignant: A term used to describe a condition that may (or is likely to) become cancer. Also called precancerous.

premenopausal: Refers to the time before menopause. Menopause is the time of life when a women's menstrual periods stop permanently; also called "change of life."

preventive: Used to prevent disease.

primary endpoint: The main result that is measured at the end of a study to see if a given treatment worked (e.g., the number of deaths or the difference in survival between the treatment group and the control group). What the primary endpoint will be is decided before the study begins.

primary tumor: The original tumor.

prinomastat: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. Prinomastat is a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor. Also called AG3340.

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

proctoscopy (prok-TOS -ko-pee): An examination of the rectum using a thin, lighted tube called a proctoscope.

proctosigmoidoscopy (PROK-toe-sig-moid-OSS-ko-pee): An examination of the rectum and the lower part of the colon using a thin, lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope.

progesterone (pro-JES-ter-own): A female hormone.

progesterone receptor negative (PR-): Breast cancer cells that do not have a protein (receptor molecule) to which progesterone will attach. Breast cancer cells that are PR- do not need the hormone progesterone to grow and usually do not respond to hormonal therapy.

progesterone receptor positive (PR+): Breast cancer cells that have a protein (receptor molecule) to which progesterone will attach. Breast cancer cells that are PR+ need the hormone progesterone to grow and will usually respond to hormonal therapy.

prognosis (prog-NO-sis): The likely outcome or course of a disease; the chance of recovery or recurrence.

prognostic factor (prog-NOS-tik factor): A situation or condition, or a characteristic of a patient, that can be used to estimate the chance of recovery from a disease, or the chance of the disease recurring (coming back).

progression: Increase in the size of a tumor or spread of cancer in the body.

progressive disease: Cancer that is increasing in scope or severity.

promegapoietin: A colony-stimulating factor that stimulates the production of blood cells, especially platelets; it is given during chemotherapy to increase blood cell regeneration. Promegapoietin is a cytokine that belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic (blood forming) agents.

prophylactic cranial irradiation (pro-fih-LAK-tik KRAY-nee-ul ir-ray-dee-AY-shun): Radiation therapy to the head to reduce the risk that cancer will spread to the brain.

prophylaxis: An attempt to prevent disease.

prospective: In medicine, a study or clinical trial in which participants are identified and then followed forward in time.

Prost 30 monoclonal antibody: 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.

prostate gland (PROS-tate): A gland in the male reproductive system just below the bladder. It surrounds part of the urethra, the canal that empties the bladder and produces a fluid that forms part of semen.

prostate-specific antigen: PSA. A substance produced by the prostate that may be found in an increased amount in the blood of men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or infection or inflammation of the prostate.

prostatectomy (pros-ta-TEK-toe-mee): An operation to remove part or all of the prostate. Radical (or total) prostatectomy is the removal of the entire prostate and some of the tissue around it.

prostatic acid phosphatase (FOS-fa-tays): PAP. An enzyme produced by the prostate. It may be found in increased amounts in men who have prostate cancer.

prosthesis (pros-THEE-sis): An artificial replacement of a part of the body.

prosthodontist (pros-tho-DON-tist): A dentist with special training in making replacements for missing teeth or other structures of the oral cavity to restore an individual's appearance, comfort, or health.

protease inhibitors: Compounds that interfere with the ability of certain enzymes to break down proteins. Some protease inhibitors can keep a virus from making copies of itself.

protein (PRO-teen): A molecule made up of amino acids that are needed for the body to function properly. Proteins are the basis of body structures such as skin and hair and of substances such as enzymes, cytokines, and antibodies.

proteoglycan: A molecule that contains both protein and glycosaminoglycans, which are a type of polysaccharide. Proteoglycans are found in cartilage and other connective tissues.

protozoal: Having to do with the simplest organisms in the animal kingdom. Protozoa are single-cell organisms, such as ameba, and are different from bacteria, which are not members of the animal kingdom. Some protozoa can be seen without a microscope.

PS-341: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called dipeptidyl boronic acids; it is being studied for its ability to treat cancer.

PSA: Prostate-specific antigen. A substance produced by the prostate that may be found in an increased amount in the blood of men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or infection or inflammation of the prostate.

PSC 833: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called cyclosporine analogues. It is used with chemotherapy to prevent or overcome the resistance of tumor cells to some anticancer drugs.

psoralen: A substance that binds to the DNA in cells and stops them from multiplying. It is being studied in the treatment of graft-versus-host disease and is used in the treatment of psoriasis and vitiligo.

psoriasis: A chronic disease of the skin marked by red patches covered with white scales.

PTC: Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (per-kyoo-TAN-ee-us trans-heh-PAT-ik ko-LAN-jee-AH-gra-fee). A procedure to x-ray the bile ducts. In this procedure, a dye is injected through a thin needle inserted through the skin into the liver or the gallbladder, and an x-ray picture is taken.

PTK787/ZK 222584: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

pulmonary: Relating to the lungs.

pump: A device that is used to deliver a precise amount of drug at a specific rate.

pyrazine diazohydroxide: An anticancer drug.

pyrazoloacridine: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called acridines.

QS21: A plant extract that may improve the ability of the immune system to respond to disease. It is being studied in combination with vaccine therapy.

quality of life: The overall enjoyment of life. Many clinical trials measure aspects of an individual's sense of well-being and ability to perform various tasks to assess the effects of cancer and its treatment.

R115777: An anticancer drug that inhibits the transformation of normal cells to cancer cells. It belongs to the family of drugs called enzyme inhibitors.

radiation fibrosis (ray-dee-AY-shun fye-BRO-sis): The formation of scar tissue as a result of radiation therapy.

radiation oncologist (ray-dee-AY-shun on-KOL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer.

radiation surgery: A radiation therapy technique that delivers radiation directly to the tumor while sparing the healthy tissue. Also called radiosurgery and stereotactic external beam irradiation.

radiation therapy (ray-dee-AY-shun): The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, neutrons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy) or from materials called radioisotopes. Radioisotopes produce radiation and can be placed in or near the tumor or in the area near cancer cells. This type of radiation treatment is called internal radiation therapy, implant radiation, interstitial radiation, or brachytherapy. Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that circulates throughout the body. Also called radiotherapy.

radical cystectomy (RAD-ih-kal sis-TEK-toe-mee): Surgery to remove the bladder as well as nearby tissues and organs.

radical prostatectomy (RAD-ih-kalpros-ta-TEK-toe-mee): Surgery to remove the entire prostate. The two types of radical prostatectomy are retropubic prostatectomy and perineal prostatectomy.

radioactive (RAY-dee-o-AK-tiv): Giving off radiation.

radioactive iodine: A radioactive form of the chemical element iodine, often used for imaging tests or as a treatment for cancer.

radiofrequency ablation: The use of electrical current to destroy tissue.

radioimmunoguided surgery: A procedure that uses radiolabeled substances to detect tumors for surgical removal.

radioimmunotherapy: Treatment with a radioactive substance that is linked to an antibody that will attach to the tumor when injected into the body.

radioisotope: An unstable element that releases radiation as it breaks down. Radioisotopes can be used in imaging tests or as a treatment for cancer.

radiolabeled: Any compound that has been joined with a radioactive substance.

radiologist (RAY-dee-ol-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are produced with x-rays, sound waves, or other types of energy.

radiology: The use of radiation (such as x-rays) or other imaging technologies (such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging) to diagnose or treat disease.

radionuclide scanning: A test that produces pictures (scans) of internal parts of the body. The person is given an injection or swallows a small amount of radioactive material; a machine called a scanner then measures the radioactivity in certain organs.

radiopharmaceuticals: Drugs containing a radioactive substance that are used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and in pain management of bone metastases. Also called radioactive drugs.

radiosensitization: The use of a drug that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy.

radiosensitizers: Drugs that make tumor cells more sensitive to radiation.

radon (RAY-don): A radioactive gas that is released by uranium, a substance found in soil and rock. When too much radon is breathed in, it can damage lung cells and lead to lung cancer.

raloxifene: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) and is used in the prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Raloxifene is also being studied as a cancer prevention drug.

raltitrexed: An anticancer drug that inhibits tumor cells from multiplying by interfering with cells' ability to make DNA. Also called ICI D1694.

randomized: Describes an experiment or clinical trial in which animal or human subjects are assigned by chance to separate groups that compare different treatments.

randomized clinical trial: A study in which the participants are assigned by chance to separate groups that compare different treatments; neither the researchers nor the participants can choose which group. Using chance to assign people to groups means that the groups will be similar and that the treatments they receive can be compared objectively. At the time of the trial, it is not known which treatment is best. It is the patient's choice to be in a randomized trial.

ras gene: A gene that has been found to cause cancer when it is altered (mutated). Agents that block its activity may stop the growth of cancer. A ras peptide is a protein fragment produced by the ras gene.

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

receptor: A molecule inside or on the surface of a cell that binds to a specific substance and causes a specific physiologic effect in the cell.

rectal: By or having to do with the rectum, which is made up of the last 8 to 10 inches of the large intestine ending at the anus.

rectum: The last 8 to 10 inches of the large intestine.

recur: To occur again. Recurrence is the return of cancer, at the same site as the original (primary) tumor or in another location, after the tumor had disappeared.

recurrence: The return of cancer, at the same site as the original (primary) tumor or in another location, after the tumor had disappeared.

recurrent cancer: Cancer that has returned, at the same site as the original (primary) tumor or in another location, after the tumor had disappeared.

red blood cells: RBCs. Cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Also called erythrocytes.

red date: The fruit of the jujube plant. It has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anticancer effects.

Reed-Sternberg cell: A type of cell that appears in people with Hodgkin's disease. The number of these cells increases as the disease advances.

reflux: The term used when liquid backs up into the esophagus from the stomach.

refractory cancer: Cancer that has not responded to treatment.

regimen: A treatment plan that specifies the dosage, the schedule, and the duration of treatment.

regional: In oncology, describes the body area right around a tumor.

regional cancer: Refers to cancer that has grown beyond the original (primary) tumor to nearby lymph nodes or organs and tissues.

regional chemotherapy (kee-mo-THER-a-pee): Treatment with anticancer drugs that is directed to a specific area.

regression: A decrease in the size of a tumor, or in the extent of cancer in the body.

relapse: The return of signs and symptoms of cancer after a period of improvement.

remission: A decrease in or disappearance of signs and symptoms of cancer. In partial remission, some, but not all, signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared. In complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared, although there still may be cancer in the body.

remission induction therapy: The initial chemotherapy a person receives to bring about a remission.

renal capsule: The fibrous connective tissue that surrounds each kidney.

renal pelvis: The area at the center of the kidney. Urine collects here and is funneled into the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder.

reproductive cells: Egg and sperm cells. Each mature reproductive cell carries a single set of 23 chromosomes.

reproductive system: In women, this system includes the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the uterus (womb), the cervix, and the vagina (birth canal). The reproductive system in men includes the prostate, the testes, and the penis.

resected: Surgical removal of part of an organ.

resection (ree-SEK-shun): Removal of tissue or part or all of an organ by surgery.

residual disease: Cancer cells that remain after attempts have been made to remove the cancer.

resistance: Failure of a cancer to shrink after treatment.

respiratory system (RES-pih-ra-tor-ee): The organs that are involved in breathing. These include the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs.

respiratory therapy (RES-pih-ra-tor-ee): Exercises and treatments that help improve or restore lung function.

response: In medicine, an improvement related to treatment.

response rate: The percentage of patients whose cancer shrinks or disappears after treatment.

retinoid: Vitamin A or a vitamin A-like compound.

retinol: Vitamin A. It is essential for proper vision and healthy skin and mucous membranes. Retinol is being studied for cancer prevention; it belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids.

retinyl palmitate: A drug being studied in cancer prevention; it belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids.

retroperitoneal (RET-row-PAIR-ih-toe-NEE-ul): Having to do with the area outside or behind the peritoneum (the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen).

retropubic prostatectomy (re-tro-PYOO-bik pros-ta-TEK-toe-mee): Surgery to remove the prostate through an incision made in the abdominal wall.

retrospective: Looking back at events that have already taken place.

retrospective study: A study that looks backward in time, usually using medical records and interviews with patients who already have or had a disease.

retroviral vector: RNA from a virus that is used to insert genetic material into cells.

RevM10 gene: An antiviral gene being studied for treatment of cancer in patients who have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

rhabdomyosarcoma: A malignant tumor of muscle tissue.

rheumatism: A group of disorders marked by inflammation or pain in the connective tissue structures of the body. These structures include bone, cartilage, and fat.

rhizoxin: An anticancer drug isolated from a fungus. It is similar to the family of drugs called vinca alkaloids.

ribonucleic acid: RNA. One of the two nucleic acids found in all cells. The other is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Ribonucleic acid transfers genetic information from DNA to proteins produced by the cell.

risk factor: A habit, trait, condition, or genetic alteration that increases a person's chance of developing a disease.

ritonavir: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called protease inhibitors. It interferes with the ability of a virus to make copies of itself.

rituximab: 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.

RMP-7: A substance that is being studied for its ability to help other drugs reach the brain. It belongs to the family of drugs called bradykinin agonists. Also called lobradimil.

RNA: Ribonucleic acid. One of the two types of nucleic acids found in cells. The other is DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). RNA plays a role in sending information from DNA to the protein-forming system of the cell.

Ro 31-7453: An anticancer drug that may prevent cancer cells from dividing.

rosiglitazone: A drug taken to help reduce the amount of sugar in the blood. Rosiglitazone helps make insulin more effective and improves regulation of blood sugar. It belongs to the family of drugs called thiazolidinediones.

RPR 109881A: A drug that belongs to the family of anticancer drugs called taxanes.

RSR13: A drug that may increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy.

S-1: A drug that is being studied for its ability to enhance the effectiveness of fluorouracil and prevent gastrointestinal side effects caused by fluorouracil. It belongs to the family of drugs called anitmetabolites.

saline: A solution of salt and water.

salivary glands (SAL-ih-vair-ee): Glands in the mouth that produce saliva.

salpingo-oophorectomy (sal-PIN-go o-o-for-EK-toe-mee): Surgical removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

salvage therapy: Treatment that is given after the cancer has not responded to other treatments.

samarium 153: A radioactive substance used in cancer therapy.

saponin: A substance found in soybeans and many other plants. Saponins may help lower cholesterol and may have anticancer effects.

saquinavir mesylate: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called protease inhibitors. It interferes with the ability of a virus to make copies of itself.

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

sarcoma: A cancer of the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels or other connective or supportive tissue.

sargramostim: A colony-stimulating factor that stimulates the production of blood cells, especially platelets, during chemotherapy. It is a cytokine that belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic (blood-forming) agents. Also called GM-CSF.

SC-70935: A growth factor used to stimulate the production of blood cells during cancer chemotherapy. Also called leridistim.

scans: Pictures of structures inside the body. Scans often used in diagnosing, staging, and monitoring disease include liver scans, bone scans, and computed tomography (CT) or computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. In liver scanning and bone scanning, radioactive substances that are injected into the bloodstream collect in these organs. A scanner that detects the radiation is used to create pictures. In CT scanning, an x-ray machine linked to a computer is used to produce detailed pictures of organs inside the body. MRI scans use a large magnet connected to a computer to create pictures of areas inside the body.

SCH 54031: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. It is a cytokine. Also called PEG-interferon alfa-2b.

SCH 66336: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called enzyme inhibitors.

SCH-58500: A drug that inhibits the growth of tumor cells that express the mutated p53 gene.

schwannoma (shwah-NO-ma): A tumor of the peripheral nervous system that begins in the nerve sheath (protective covering). It is almost always benign, but rare malignant schwannomas have been reported.

scleroderma: A chronic disorder marked by hardening and thickening of the skin. Scleroderma can be localized or it can affect the entire body (systemic).

screening: Checking for disease when there are no symptoms.

scrotum: In males, the external sac that contains the testicles.

Scutellaria barbata: An herb used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat certain medical problems. It may have anticancer effects.

sebum (SEE-bum): An oily substance produced by certain glands in the skin.

second cancer: Refers to a new primary cancer that is caused by previous cancer treatment, or a new primary cancer in a person with a history of cancer.

second-look surgery: Surgery performed after primary treatment to determine whether tumor cells remain.

secondary tumor: Cancer that has spread from the organ in which it first appeared to another organ. For example, breast cancer cells may spread (metastasize) to the lungs and cause the growth of a new tumor. When this happens, the disease is called metastatic breast cancer, and the tumor in the lungs is called a secondary tumor. Also called secondary cancer.

sedoxantrone trihydrochloride: An anticancer drug that belongs to a family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors. Also called CI-958.

segmental mastectomy (mas-TEK-toe-mee): The removal of the cancer as well as some of the breast tissue around the tumor and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor. Usually some of the lymph nodes under the arm are also taken out. Sometimes called partial mastectomy.

seizures (SEE-zhurz): Convulsions; sudden, involuntary movements of the muscles.

selection bias: An error in choosing the individuals or groups to take part in a study. Ideally, the subjects in a study should be very similar to one another and to the larger population (for example, all individuals with the same disease or condition) from which they are drawn. If there are important differences, the results of the study may not be valid.

selective estrogen receptor modulator (sel-EK-tiv ESS-tro-jen re-SEP-tor MOD-yew-lay-tor): SERM. A drug that acts like estrogen on some tissues, but blocks the effect of estrogen on other tissues. Tamoxifen and raloxifene are SERMs.

selenium: An essential dietary mineral.

semen: The fluid that is released through the penis during orgasm. Semen is made up of sperm from the testicles and fluid from the prostate and other sex glands.

seminal fluid: Fluid from the prostate and other sex glands that helps transport sperm out of the man's body during orgasm. Seminal fluid contains sugar as an energy source for sperm.

seminal vesicles (SEM-in-al VES-ih-kulz): Glands that help produce semen.

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

senega root: The root of an herb called Polygala senega. It has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anticancer effects.

sensory: Having to do with the senses.

sentinel lymph node: The first lymph node that cancer is likely to spread to from the primary tumor. Cancer cells may appear first in the sentinel node before spreading to other lymph nodes.

sentinel lymph node biopsy: Procedure in which a dye or radioactive substance is injected near the tumor and flows into the sentinel lymph nodes(s) (the first lymph node(s) that cancer is likely to spread to from the primary tumor). A surgeon then looks for the dye or uses a scanner to find the sentinel lymph node(s) and removes it (or them) to check for the presence of tumor cells.

septate (SEP-tate): An organ or structure that is divided into compartments.

sequential treatment: One treatment after the other.

SERM: Selective estrogen receptor modulator. A drug that acts like estrogen on some tissues, but blocks the effect of estrogen on other tissues. Tamoxifen and raloxifene are SERMs.

serum: The clear liquid part of the blood that remains after blood cells and clotting proteins have been removed.

serum albumin: The main protein in blood plasma. Low levels of serum albumin occur in people with malnutrition, inflammation, and serious liver and kidney disease.

shave biopsy (BY-ahp-see): A procedure in which the parts of a mole that are above and just below the surface of the skin are removed with a small blade. There is no need for stitches with this procedure.

shunt: A surgically created diversion of fluid (e.g., blood or cerebrospinal fluid) from one area of the body to another area of the body.

sialyl Tn-KLH: A vaccine composed of a substance that enhances immunity plus an antigen found on some tumors of the colon, breast, lung, ovary, pancreas, and stomach.

side effects: Problems that occur when treatment affects healthy cells. Common side effects of cancer treatment are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss, and mouth sores.

sigmoidoscope (sig-MOY-da-skope): A thin, lighted tube used to view the inside of the colon.

sigmoidoscopy (sig-moid-OSS-ko-pee): Inspection of the lower colon using a thin, lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope. Samples of tissue or cells may be collected for examination under a microscope. Also called proctosigmoidoscopy.

sirolimus: A drug used to help prevent rejection of organ and bone marrow transplants by the body.

skeleton: The framework that supports the soft tissues of vertebrate animals and protects many of their internal organs. The skeletons of vertebrates are made of bone and/or cartilage.

skin graft: Skin that is moved from one part of the body to another.

skin test: A test for an immune response to a compound by placing it on or under the skin.

small cell lung cancer: A type of lung cancer in which the cells appear small and round when viewed under the microscope. Also called oat cell lung cancer.

small intestine: The part of the digestive tract that is located between the stomach and the large intestine.

smoldering leukemia: Disease in which the bone marrow does not function normally. Also called preleukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome.

SMT-487: A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called somatostatin analogs.

sodium salicylate: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Sodium salicylate may be tolerated by people who are sensitive to aspirin.

sodium sulfite: A chemical used in photography, paper making, water treatment, and for other purposes.

soft tissue: Refers to muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue of the body.

soft tissue sarcoma (TISH-oo sar-KO-ma): A sarcoma that begins in the muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue of the body.

solid tumor: Cancer of body tissues other than blood, bone marrow, or the lymphatic system.

somatic cells: All the body cells except the reproductive (germ) cells.

somatic mutations: Alterations in DNA that occur after conception. Somatic mutations can occur in any of the cells of the body except the germ cells (sperm and egg) and therefore are not passed on to children. These alterations can (but do not always) cause cancer or other diseases.

somnolence syndrome (SOM-no-lens syndrome): Periods of drowsiness, lethargy, loss of appetite, and irritability in children following radiation therapy treatments to the head.

sonogram (SON-o-gram): A computer picture of areas inside the body created by bouncing sound waves off organs and other tissues. Also called ultrasonogram or ultrasound.

specific immune cells: Immune cells such as T and B lymphocytes that respond to a single, specific antigen.

speculum (SPEK-yoo-lum): An instrument used to widen an opening of the body to make it easier to look inside.

speech pathologist (pa-THOL-o-jist): A specialist who evaluates and treats people with communication and swallowing problems. Also called a speech therapist.

sperm banking: Freezing sperm for use in the future. This procedure can allow men to father children after loss of fertility.

sperm retrieval: The doctor removes sperm from a man's reproductive tract (testis or epididymis) using a fine needle, biopsy gun, or other instrument.

SPF: Sun protection factor, scale for rating the level of sunburn protection in sunscreen products. The higher the SPF, the more sunburn protection it provides. Sunscreens with an SPF value of 2 through 11 provide minimal protection against sunburns. Sunscreens with an SPF of 12 through 29 provide moderate protection, which is adequate for most people. Those with an SPF of 30 or higher provide high protection against sunburn and are sometimes recommended for people who are highly sensitive to the sun.

spinal tap: A procedure in which a needle is put into the lower part of the spinal column to collect cerebrospinal fluid or to give anticancer drugs intrathecally. Also called a lumbar puncture.

spiral CT scan: A detailed picture of areas inside the body. The pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine that scans the body in a spiral path. Also called helical computed tomography.

spleen: An organ that is part of the lymphatic system. The spleen produces lymphocytes, filters the blood, stores blood cells, and destroys old blood cells. It is located on the left side of the abdomen near the stomach.

splenectomy (splen-EK-toe-mee): An operation to remove the spleen.

sputum: Mucus coughed up from the lungs.

squalamine lactate: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. It prevents the growth of new blood vessels into a solid tumor.

squamous cell carcinoma (SKWAY-mus. . .kar-sin-O-ma): Cancer that begins in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells resembling fish scales. Squamous cells are found in the tissue that forms the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body, and the passages of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Also called epidermoid carcinoma.

squamous cells (SKWAY-mus): Flat cells that look like fish scales under a microscope. These cells cover internal and external surfaces of the body.

SR-29142: A drug that may protect healthy tissue from the toxic effects of anticancer drugs.

SR-45023A: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called bisphosphonates. It affects cancer cell receptors governing cell growth and death.

SR49059: An anticancer drug that inhibits a hormone growth factor responsible for stimulating some cancer cells to multiply.

St. John's wort: Hypericum perforatum. An herbal product sold as an over-the-counter treatment for depression. It is being studied for its ability to lessen certain side effects of cancer treatment.

stable disease: Cancer that is neither decreasing nor increasing in extent or severity.

stage: The extent of a cancer, especially whether the disease has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.

stage IA soft tissue sarcoma: The cancer cells look very much like normal cells. The cancer is smaller than 5 centimeters in size (about 2 inches), but it has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

stage IB soft tissue sarcoma: The cancer cells look somewhat different from normal cells. The cancer is larger than 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) and has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

stage IIA soft tissue sarcoma: The cancer cells look somewhat different from normal cells. The cancer is larger than 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) and has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

stage IIB soft tissue sarcoma: The cancer cells look very different from normal cells. The cancer is smaller than 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) and has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

stage IIC soft tissue sarcoma: The cancer cells look very different from normal cells. The cancer is larger than 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) and has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

stage III soft tissue sarcoma: The cancer cells look very different from normal cells. The cancer is larger than 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) but has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

stage IV soft tissue sarcoma: The cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the area or other parts of the body (such as the lungs, head, or neck).

staging: Performing exams and tests to learn the extent of the cancer within the body, especially whether the disease has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.

standard therapy: A currently accepted and widely used treatment for a certain type of cancer, based on the results of past research.

statistically significant: Describes a mathematical measure of difference between groups. The difference is said to be statistically significant if it is greater than what might be expected to happen by chance alone.

staurosporine: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkaloids. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

stavudine: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called nucleoside analogues. It is used to treat infection caused by viruses.

stem cell factor: A drug that is being studied for its ability to increase the number of stem cells in the blood.

stem cell transplantation: A method of replacing immature blood-forming cells that were destroyed by cancer treatment. The stem cells are given to the person after treatment to help the bone marrow recover and continue producing healthy blood cells.

stem cells: The cells that all blood cells come from.

stent: A device placed in a body structure (such as a blood vessel or the gastrointestinal tract) to provide support and keep the structure open.

stereotactic radiosurgery: A radiation therapy technique involving a rigid head frame that is attached to the skull; high-dose radiation is administered through openings in the head frame to the tumor while decreasing the amount of radiation given to normal brain tissue. This procedure does not involve surgery. Also called stereotaxic radiosurgery and stereotactic radiation therapy.

stereotaxis (stair-ee-o-TAK-sis): Use of a computer and scanning devices to create three-dimensional pictures. This method can be used to direct a biopsy, external radiation, or the insertion of radiation implants.

sterile: Unable to produce children.

steroid therapy: Treatment with corticosteroid drugs to reduce swelling, pain, and other symptoms of inflammation.

steroids (STEH-roidz): Drugs used to relieve swelling and inflammation.

STI571: A substance that is being studied for its ability to inhibit the growth of certain leukemias. It interferes with a portion of the protein produced by the bcr/abl oncogene.

stoma: A surgically created opening from an area inside the body to the outside. Colostomy and urostomy are types of stomas. Also called an ostomy.

stomach: An organ that is part of the digestive system. It helps in the digestion of food by mixing it with digestive juices and churning it into a thin liquid.

stool: The waste matter discharged in a bowel movement; feces.

stool test: A test to check for hidden blood in the bowel movement.

streptavidin: A small bacterial protein that binds with high affinity to the vitamin biotin. This streptavidin-biotin combination can be used to link molecules such as radioisotopes and monoclonal antibodies together. These bound products have the property of being attracted to, and attaching to, cancer cells, rather than normal cells. The radiolabeled products are more easily removed from the body, thus decreasing their toxicity.

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

Stromagen: A drug that is derived from a patient's stem cells (specialized cells in the bone marrow that form new blood cells) and may be given back to the patient to help restore bone marrow that has been damaged by high-dose chemotherapy.

stromal tumors (STRO-mal): Tumors that arise in the supporting connective tissue of an organ.

strontium: A metal often used in a radioactive form for imaging tests or as a treatment for cancer.

strontium-89: A radioactive compound that is absorbed by the bone. It is used to treat bone pain associated with prostate cancer.

SU5416: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

subcutaneous: Beneath the skin.

subcutaneous port: A tube surgically placed into a blood vessel and attached to a disk placed under the skin. It is used for the administration of intravenous fluids and drugs; it can also be used to obtain blood samples.

suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid: A substance that is being studied as an anticancer drug.

subglottis (SUB-glot-is): The lowest part of the larynx; the area from just below the vocal cords down to the top of the trachea.

sucralfate: A drug used to treat ulcers. It adheres to proteins at the ulcer site and forms a protective coating over the ulcer. Sucralfate is also used to treat mucositis.

sulfuric acid: A strong acid that, when concentrated is extemely corrosive to the skin and mucous membranes. It is used in making fertilizers, dyes, electroplating, and industrial explosives.

sulindac: A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is being studied as a treatment for cancer.

sulindac sulfone: An analgesic drug that belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents. It is also being studied in cancer prevention.

sun protection factor: SPF. A scale for rating the level of sunburn protection in sunscreen products. The higher the SPF, the more sunburn protection it provides. Sunscreens with an SPF value of 2 through 11 provide minimal protection against sunburns. Sunscreens with an SPF of 12 through 29 provide moderate protection, which is adequate for most people. Those with an SPF of 30 or higher provide high protection against sunburn and are sometimes recommended for people who are highly sensitive to the sun.

sunscreen: A substance that helps protect the skin from the sun's harmful rays. Sunscreens reflect, absorb, and scatter both UVA and UVB radiation. Using lotions, creams, or gels that contain sunscreens can help protect the skin from premature aging and damage that may lead to skin cancer.

supplementation: Adding nutrients to the diet.

support group: A group of people with similar disease who meet to discuss how better to cope with their cancer and treatment.

supportive care: Treatment given to prevent, control, or relieve complications and side effects and to improve the comfort and quality of life of people who have cancer.

supraclavicular lymph nodes: Lymph nodes located above the clavicle (collar bone).

supraglottis (SOOP-ra-GLOT-is): The upper part of the larynx (voice box), including the epiglottis; the area above the vocal cords.

supratentorial: Located in the upper part of the brain.

suramin: A drug used to treat bacterial and parasitic infections. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer.

surgery: A procedure to remove or repair a part of the body or to find out whether disease is present.

surgical castration: Surgical removal of the testicles (orchiectomy) or ovaries (oophorectomy) to stop the production of sex hormones. Decreasing the levels of hormones may stop the growth of certain cancers.

symptom: A sign that a person has a condition or disease. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and pain.

symptomatic: Having to do with symptoms, which are signs of a condition or disease.

synthetic retinoid (sin-THET-ik RET-in-oyd): A substance related to vitamin A that is produced in a laboratory.

systemic (sis-TEM-ik): Affecting the entire body.

systemic disease: Disease that affects the whole body.

systemic therapy (sis-TEM-ik): Treatment that uses substances that travel through the bloodstream, reaching and affecting cells all over the body.

T cell: One type of white blood cell that attacks virus-infected cells, foreign cells, and cancer cells. T cells also produce a number of substances that regulate the immune response.

T-cell depletion: Treatment to destroy T cells, which play an important role in the immune response. Elimination of T cells from a bone marrow graft from a donor may reduce the chance of an immune reaction against the recipient's tissues.

T-cell lymphoma (lim-FO-ma): A disease in which certain cells of the lymph system (called T lymphocytes) become cancerous.

T138067: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. It inhibits the growth of cancer cells by preventing cell division.

T4N5 liposomal lotion: Enzyme lotion used in treating xeroderma pigmentosum.

tacrolimus: A drug used to help reduce the risk of rejection by the body of organ and bone marrow transplants.

TAG-72 antigen: A protein/sugar complex found on the surface of many cancer cells, including breast, colon, and pancreatic cells.

tamoxifen: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antiestrogens. Tamoxifen blocks the effects of the hormone estrogen in the body. It is used to prevent or delay the return of breast cancer or to control its spread.

taxanes: Anticancer drugs that inhibit cancer cell growth by stopping cell division. Also called antimitotic or antimicrotubule agents or mitotic inhibitors.

technetium Tc 99m dextran: A radiolabeled substance that is used in cancer diagnosis.

technetium Tc 99m sulfur colloid: A radiolabeled substance that is used to help identify sites of tumor development.

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

temoporfin: An anticancer drug that is also used in cancer prevention. It belongs to the family of drugs called photosensitizing agents.

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

teniposide: An anticancer drug that is a podophyllotoxin derivative and belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors.

terminal disease: Disease that cannot be cured and will cause death.

testicles (TES-tih-kuls): The two egg-shaped glands found inside the scrotum. They produce sperm and male hormones. Also called testes.

testimonials: Information provided by individuals who claim to have been helped or cured by a particular product. The information provided lacks the necessary elements to be evaluated in a rigorous and scientific manner and is not used in the scientific literature.

testosterone (tes-TOS-ter-own): A hormone that promotes the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics.

tetracycline: An antibiotic drug used to treat infection.

TG4010: A substance that is being studied as an anticancer drug.

thalidomide: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. It prevents the growth of new blood vessels into a solid tumor.

theophylline: A drug used to improve breathing in people who are short of breath. It belongs to the family of drugs called bronchodilators or respiratory smooth muscle relaxants.

therapeutic: Used to treat disease and help healing take place.

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

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

thoracentesis (thor-a-sen-TEE-sis): Removal of fluid from the pleural cavity through a needle inserted between the ribs.

thoracic (thor-ASS-ik): Having to do with the chest.

thoracoscopy: The use of a thin, lighted tube (called an endoscope) to examine the inside of the chest.

thoracotomy (thor-a-KAH-toe-mee): An operation to open the chest.

thrombocytes (THROM-bo-sites): Blood cells that help prevent bleeding by causing blood clots to form. Also called platelets.

thrombocytopenia: A decrease in the number of platelets in the blood that may result in easy bruising and excessive bleeding from wounds or bleeding in mucous membranes and other tissues.

thrombophlebitis (throm-bo-fleh-BY-tis): Inflammation of a vein that occurs when a blood clot forms.

thrombopoietin: A colony-stimulating factor that stimulates the production of blood cells, especially platelets, during chemotherapy. It is a cytokine that belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic (blood forming) agents.

thrombosis (throm-BOW-sis): The formation or presence of a blood clot inside a blood vessel.

thymidine: A chemical compound found in DNA. Also used as treatment for mucositis.

thymus: An organ that is part of the lymphatic system, in which T lymphocytes grow and multiply. The thymus is in the chest behind the breastbone.

thyroid: A gland located near the windpipe (trachea) that produces thyroid hormone, which helps regulate growth and metabolism.

tiazofurin: An anticancer drug being studied to stop cell growth.

tin ethyl etiopurpurin: An anticancer drug that is also used in cancer prevention. It belongs to the family of drugs called photosensitizing agents. Also called SnET2.

tin Sn 117m DTPA: A radioactive chemical being studied to treat bone pain associated with cancer.

tinidazole: A drug used to treat protozoal infections, such as amebiasis, giardiasis, and trichomoniasis. It belongs to a family of drugs called antiprotozoal agents. Tinidazole is also being evaluated in the treatment of H. pylori infections in people with low-grade gastric lymphoma.

tirapazamine: A drug that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy.

tissue (TISH-oo): A group or layer of cells that are alike in type and work together to perform a specific function.

TNP-470: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. It prevents the growth of new blood vessels into a solid tumor.

tomography (tuh-MAH-gra-fee): A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body; the pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine.

tonsils: Small masses of lymphoid tissue on either side of the throat.

topical: On the surface of the body.

topical chemotherapy (kee-mo-THER-a-pee): Treatment with anticancer drugs in a lotion or cream applied to the skin.

topoisomerase inhibitors: A family of anticancer drugs. The topoisomerase enzymes are responsible for the arrangement and rearrangement of DNA in the cell and for cell growth and replication. Inhibiting these enzymes may kill cancer cells or stop their growth.

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

toremifene: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antiestrogens. Toremifene blocks the effect of the hormone estrogen in the body. It may help control some cancers from growing, and it may delay or reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.

total androgen blockade: Therapy used to eliminate male sex hormones (androgens) in the body. This may be done with surgery, hormonal therapy, or a combination.

total estrogen blockade: Therapy used to eliminate estrogen in the body. This may be done with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these procedures.

total hysterectomy: Surgery to remove the entire uterus.

total mastectomy (mas-TEK-toe-mee): Removal of the breast. Also called simple mastectomy.

total nodal irradiation: Radiation therapy to the mantle field, the spleen, the lymph nodes in the upper abdomen, and the lymph nodes in the pelvic area.

total pancreatectomy: Surgery to remove the entire pancreas.

total-body irradiation: Radiation therapy to the entire body. Usually followed by bone marrow or peripheral stem cell transplantation.

toxic: Having to do with poison or something harmful to the body. Toxic substances usually cause unwanted side effects.

toxins: Poisons produced by certain animals, plants, or bacteria.

TPA: 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate. A drug that is being studied as a treatment for hematologic cancer.

tracer: A substance (such as a radioisotope) used in imaging procedures.

trachea (TRAY-kee-a): The airway that leads from the larynx to the lungs. Also called the windpipe.

tracheoesophageal puncture (TRAY-kee-o-eh-SOF-a-JEE-al PUNK-chur): A small opening made by a surgeon between the esophagus and the trachea. A valve keeps food out of the trachea but lets air into the esophagus for esophageal speech.

tracheostomy (TRAY-kee-AHS-toe- mee): Surgery to create an opening (stoma) into the windpipe. The opening itself may also be called a tracheostomy.

tracheostomy button (TRAY-kee-AHS-toe-mee): A 0.5-inch- to 1.5-inch-long plastic tube placed in a surgically created opening (tracheostomy) in the windpipe to keep it open.

tracheostomy tube (TRAY-kee-AHS-toe-mee): A 2-inch- to 3-inch-long curved metal or plastic tube placed in a surgically created opening (tracheostomy) in the windpipe to keep it open. Also called a trach ("trake") tube.

transcendental meditation: TM. A mental technique used to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve quality of life.

transformation: The change that a normal cell undergoes as it becomes malignant.

transfusion (trans-FYOO-zhun): The infusion of components of blood or whole blood into the bloodstream. The blood may be donated from another person, or it may have been taken from the person earlier and stored until needed.

transitional cells: Cells lining some organs.

transplantation: The replacement of an organ with one from another person.

transrectal ultrasound: A procedure used to examine the prostate. An instrument is inserted into the rectum, and sound waves bounce off the prostate. These sound waves create echoes, which a computer uses to create a picture called a sonogram.

transurethral resection: Surgery performed with a special instrument inserted through the urethra. Also called TUR.

transurethral resection of the prostate (TRANZ-yoo-REE-thral ree-SEK-shun): Surgical procedure to remove tissue from the prostate using an instrument inserted through the urethra. Also called TURP.

transvaginal ultrasound: A procedure used to examine the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, and bladder. An instrument is inserted into the vagina, and sound waves bounce off organs inside the pelvic area. These sound waves create echoes, which a computer uses to create a picture called a sonogram. Also called TVS.

trastuzumab: 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. Trastuzumab blocks the effects of the growth factor protein HER2, which transmits growth signals to breast cancer cells.

treosulfan: A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

tretinoin: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids. It is used in the treatment of acne and is being studied in cancer prevention.

triacetyluridine: A substance that is being studied for its ability to protect against the gastrointestinal side effects caused by fluorouracil. It is a precursor of uridine, which is a component of RNA.

tributyrin: A triglyceride drug that may inhibit cell growth and induce cell differentiation. Differentiating agents may be effective in changing cancer cells back into normal cells.

trichothiodystrophy: A hereditary condition characterized by sparse and brittle hair, short stature, and mental retardation.

trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole: An antibiotic drug used to treat infection and prevent pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.

trimetrexate glucuronate: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. It is used in the treatment of pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and is being studied in the treatment of cancer.

triptorelin: A hormonal anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormones.

troglitazone: A drug used in diabetes treatment that is being studied for its effect on reducing the risk of cancer cell growth in fat tissue.

troxacitabine: A drug being studied for use as an anticancer agent.

tubal ligation (TOO-bul lye-GAY-shun): An operation to tie the fallopian tubes closed. This procedure prevents pregnancy by blocking the passage of eggs from the ovaries to the uterus.

tumor (TOO-mer): An abnormal mass of tissue that results from excessive cell division. Tumors perform no useful body function. They may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

tumor antigen vaccine: A vaccine made of tumor antigens (proteins isolated from tumor cells).

tumor debulking: Surgically removing as much of the tumor as possible.

tumor infiltrating lymphocytes: White blood cells that have left the bloodstream and migrated into a tumor.

tumor marker: A substance sometimes found in an increased amount in the blood, other body fluids, or tissues and which may mean that a certain type of cancer is in the body. Examples of tumor markers include CA 125 (ovarian cancer), CA 15-3 (breast cancer), CEA (ovarian, lung, breast, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract cancers), and PSA (prostate cancer). Also called biomarker.

tumor model: A type of animal model which can be 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.

tumor necrosis factor (TOO-mer ne-KRO-sis): A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease).

tumor suppressor gene (TOO-mer): Genes in the body that can suppress or block the development of cancer.

tumor-derived: Taken from an individual's own tumor tissue; may be used in the development of a vaccine that enhances the body's ability to build an immune response to the tumor.

tyramine: A derivative of the amino acid tyrosine.

tyrosinase peptide: A tumor-specific antigen used in the development of cancer vaccines.

UCN-01: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called staurosporine analogues.

ultrasonography (UL-tra-son-OG-ra-fee): A procedure in which sound waves (called ultrasound) are bounced off tissues and the echoes are converted to a picture (sonogram).

ultrasound energy: A form of therapy being studied as an anticancer treatment. Intensified ultrasound energy can be directed at cancer cells to heat them and kill them.

ultrasound test: A test that bounces sound waves off tissues and internal organs and changes the echoes into pictures (sonograms).

ultraviolet radiation (ul-tra- VYE-o-let ray-dee-AY-shun): Invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun. UV radiation can damage the skin and cause melanoma and other types of skin cancer. UV radiation that reaches the earth's surface is made up of two types of rays, called UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are more likely than UVA rays to cause sunburn, but UVA rays pass deeper into the skin. Scientists have long thought that UVB radiation can cause melanoma and other types of skin cancer. They now think that UVA radiation also may add to skin damage that can lead to skin cancer and cause premature aging. For this reason, skin specialists recommend that people use sunscreens that reflect, absorb, or scatter both kinds of UV radiation.

ultraviolet radiation therapy: A form of radiation used in the treatment of cancer.

umbilical cord blood: Blood from the placenta (afterbirth) that contains high concentrations of stem cells needed to produce new blood cells.

umbilical cord blood transplantation: The injection of umbilical cord blood to restore an individual's own blood production system suppressed by anticancer drugs, radiation therapy, or both. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer and severe blood disorders such as aplastic anemia. Cord blood contains high concentrations of stem cells needed to produce new blood cells.

uncontrolled study: A clinical study that lacks a comparison (i.e., a control) group.

unilateral: Having to do with one side of the body.

unresectable: Unable to be surgically removed.

unresectable gallbladder cancer: Cancer that has spread to the tissues around the gallbladder (such as the liver, stomach, pancreas, intestine, or lymph nodes in the area) and cannot be surgically removed.

upper GI series: A series of x-rays of the upper digestive (gastrointestinal, or GI) system that are taken after a person drinks a barium solution, which outlines the digestive organs on the x-rays.

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

ureter (yoo-REE-ter): The tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.

urethra (yoo-REE-thra): The tube through which urine leaves the body. It empties urine from the bladder.

urinalysis: A test that determines the content of the urine.

urinary: Having to do with urine or the organs of the body that produce and get rid of urine.

urinary tract (YOO-rin-air-ee): The organs of the body that produce and discharge urine. These include the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

urine (YOO-rin): Fluid containing water and waste products. Urine is made by the kidneys, stored in the bladder, and leaves the body through the urethra.

urokinase: A drug that dissolves blood clots or prevents them from forming.

urologist (yoo-RAHL-o-jist): A doctor who specializes in diseases of the urinary organs in females and the urinary and sex organs in males.

urostomy (yoo-RAHS-toe-mee): An operation to create an opening from inside the body to the outside, making a new way to pass urine.

urothelium: The lining of the ureters, bladder, and urethra.

uterus (YOO-ter-us): The small, hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman's pelvis. This is the organ in which a fetus develops. Also called the womb.

vaccination: Treatment with a vaccine.

vaccine: A substance or group of substances meant to cause the immune system to respond to a tumor or to microorganisms, such as bacteria or viruses.

vaccine adjuvant: A substance added to a vaccine to improve the immune response so that less vaccine is needed.

vaccinia CEA vaccine: A cancer vaccine containing the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) gene.

vagina (vah-JYE-na): The muscular canal extending from the uterus to the exterior of the body. Also called the birth canal.

vancomycin: An antibiotic drug used to fight resistant bacterial infections.

vascular endothelial growth factor: VEGF. A substance made by cells that stimulates new blood vessel formation.

vasectomy (vas-EK-toe-mee): An operation to cut or tie off the two tubes that carry sperm out of the testicles.

venlafaxine: An antidepressant drug that is being evaluated for the treatment of hot flashes in women who have breast cancer.

ventricles (VEN-trih-kulz): Fluid-filled cavities in the heart or brain.

video-assisted surgery: Surgery that is aided by the use of a video camera that projects and enlarges the image on a television screen. Also called video-assisted resection.

vinblastine: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of plant drugs called vinca alkaloids. It is a mitotic inhibitor.

vinca alkaloids: Anticancer drugs that inhibit cancer cell growth by stopping cell division. They are also called antimitotic or antimicrotubule agents, or mitotic inhibitors.

vincristine: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of plant drugs called vinca alkaloids.

vindesine: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of plant drugs called vinca alkaloids.

vinorelbine: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of plant drugs called vinca alkaloids.

vinyl chloride (VYE-nil KLO-ride): A substance used in manufacturing plastics. Exposure to vinyl chloride may increase the risk of liver, brain, and lung cancers; lymphoma; and leukemia.

viral vector: A type of virus used in cancer therapy. The virus is changed in the laboratory and cannot cause disease. Viral vectors produce tumor antigens (proteins found on a tumor cell) and can stimulate an antitumor immune response in the body. Viral vectors may also be used to carry genes that can change cancer cells back to normal cells.

virtual colonoscopy: A method under study to examine the colon by taking a series of x-rays (called a CT scan) and then using a high-powered computer to reconstruct 2-D and 3-D pictures of the interior surfaces of the colon from these x-rays. The pictures can be saved, manipulated to better viewing angles, and reviewed after the procedure, even years later. Also called computed tomography colography.

virus (VYE-rus): Submicroscopic organism that causes infectious disease. In cancer therapy, some viruses may be made into vaccines that help the body build an immune response to, and kill, tumor cells.

viscotoxin: A member of a group of small proteins produced by mistletoe plants that are able to kill cells and may stimulate the immune system.

visual pathway glioma: A rare, slow-growing tumor of the eye.

vital: Necessary to maintain life. Breathing is a vital function.

vitamin A: A substance used in cancer prevention; it belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids.

vitamin E: A substance used in cancer prevention; it belongs to the family of drugs called tocopherols.

vitamin K: A substance that promotes the clotting of blood.

VNP20009: A genetically modified Salmonella bacterium that is injected into the tumor. It is being studied for its ability to shrink solid tumors.

vocal cords: Two small bands of muscle within the larynx that vibrate to produce the voice.

von Hippel-Lindau syndrome: A rare inherited disorder in which blood vessels grow abnormally in the eyes, brain, spinal cord, adrenal glands, or other parts of the body. People with von Hippel-Lindau syndrome have a higher risk of developing some types of cancer.

voriconazole: A drug that treats infections caused by fungi.

vorozole: A hormone therapy drug used to decrease the production of estrogen.

vulva: The external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips, and the opening to the vagina.

VX 853: A drug being studied to make cancer cells less resistant to the effects of chemotherapy.

VX-710: A drug being studied to make cancer cells less resistant to the effects of chemotherapy.


warfarin: A drug that prevents blood from clotting. Also called an anticoagulant (blood thinner).

wart: A raised growth on the surface of the skin or other organ.

watchful waiting: Closely monitoring a patient's condition but withholding treatment until symptoms appear or change. Also called observation.

Whipple procedure: A type of surgery used to treat pancreatic cancer. The head of the pancreas, the duodenum, a portion of the stomach, and other nearby tissues are removed.

white blood cell: A type of cell in the immune system that helps the body fight infection and disease. White blood cells include lymphocytes, granulocytes, macrophages, and others.

whole cell vaccine: Vaccine made from whole tumor cells that have been changed in the laboratory.


x-ray: High-energy radiation used in low doses to diagnose diseases and in high doses to treat cancer.

xenograft: The cells of one species transplanted to another species.

xerogram: A picture of the body recorded on paper rather than on film. Also called a xeroradiograph.

xeroradiography (ZEE-ro-ray-dee-AH-gra- fee): A type of x-ray in which a picture of the body is recorded on paper rather than on film.

XR9576: A substance that is being studied for its ability to overcome tumor-cell resistance to anticancer drugs. It belongs to the family of drugs called anthranilic acid derivatives.

yttrium (IH-tree-um): A rare elemental metal. A radioactive form of yttrium is used in radiation therapy and some types of immunotherapy.

yttrium Y 90 SMT 487: A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer.

ZD1839: A substance that is being studied as an anticancer drug.

ziconotide: A drug used in the treatment of chronic pain. Also called SNX 111.

zidovudine: A drug that inhibits the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. Also called AZT.

zinc oxide: A compound that may enhance immune function, especially when administered by inhalation.

zoledronate: A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called bisphosphonates. It is used to prevent bone fractures and reduce bone pain in people who have cancer that has spread to the bone.

Zollinger-Ellison syndrome: A disorder in which tumors of the pancreatic islet cells produce large amounts of gastrin (a hormone), leading to excess acid in the stomach and, possibly, a peptic ulcer (ulcer of the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine).



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