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# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A33

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

AAP

Alanine aminopeptidase. An enzyme that is used as a biomarker to detect damage to the kidneys, and that may be used to help diagnose certain kidney disorders. It is found at high levels in the urine when there are kidney problems.

abarelix (a-ba-REL-iks)

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

ABCD rating

A staging system for prostate cancer that uses ABCD. "A" and "B" refer to cancer that is confined to the prostate. "C" refers to cancer that has grown out of the prostate but has not spread to lymph nodes or other places in the body. "D" refers to cancer that has spread to lymph nodes or to other places in the body. Also called the Jewett staging system or the Whitmore-Jewett staging system.

abdomen (AB-do-men)

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

abdominal

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

abdominoperineal resection

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

ABI-007

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a special form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel that may have fewer side effects and may be able to be given in higher doses. It belongs to the families of drugs called mitotic inhibitors and taxanes.

ablation

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

abnormal

Not normal. An abnormal lesion or growth may be cancerous, premalignant (likely to become cancer), or benign.

abscess

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

ABT-510

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

ABT-751

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

ABX-EGF

A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the diagnosis and treatment of some types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells. Also called panitumumab.

accelerated phase chronic myelogenous leukemia (ak-SEL-er-ay-ted)

A phase of chronic myelogenous leukemia in which the disease is progressing. In this phase, 6% to 30% of the cells in the blood and bone marrow are blast cells (immature blood cells).

ACE inhibitor

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. A type of drug that is used to lower blood pressure. ACE inhibitors belong to the family of drugs called antihypertensives.

acetaminophen

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

acetylcysteine

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

achlorhydria (a-klor-HY-dree-a)

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

acitretin

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

acne

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

acoustic (ah-KOOS-tik)

Having to do with sound or hearing.

acoustic neurofibromatosis

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

acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (ah-KWY-erd im-YOON-o-de-FISH-en-see SIN-drome)

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

acridine carboxamide

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

acrylonitrile (ak-ri-low-NYE-tril)

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

actinic keratosis (ak-TIN-ik ker-a-TOE-sis)

A precancerous condition of thick, scaly patches of skin. Also called solar or senile keratosis.

action study

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

Activase

A protein that is made by the body and that helps dissolve blood clots. It can also be made in the laboratory and is used in the treatment of heart attack and stroke. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. Activase belongs to the family of drugs called systemic thrombolytic agents. Also called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (r-tPA), and Alteplase.

activate

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

activities of daily living

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

Actos

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

acupressure (AK-yoo-PRESH-er)

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

acupuncture (AK-yoo-PUNK-cher)

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

acustimulation

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

acute

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

acute leukemia

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

acute lymphoblastic leukemia (lim-fo-BLAST-ik loo-KEE-mee-a)

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 lymphocytic leukemia.

acute lymphocytic leukemia (lim-fo-SIT-ik loo-KEE-mee-a)

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 (mye-eh-LAH-jen-us loo-KEE-mee-a)

AML. A quickly progressing disease in which too many immature white blood cells (not lymphocytes) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute myeloid leukemia or acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.

acute myeloid leukemia (MY-eh-loyd loo-KEE-mee-a)

AML. A quickly progressing disease in which too many immature white blood cells (not lymphocytes) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Also called acute myelogenous 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.

acute pain

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

acute promyelocytic leukemia (uh-KYOOT PRO-MY-eh-loh-SIH-tik loo-KEE-mee-uh)

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

acyclovir

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

AD 32

A drug that is used to treat bladder cancer that does not respond to BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin). It is an anthracycline and belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics. Also called valrubicin.

Adderall

A combination of drugs that is used as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder). It belongs to the family of drugs called stimulants. Also called dextroamphetamine-amphetamine.

addiction

Uncontrollable craving, seeking, and use of a substance such as a drug or alcohol.

adenocarcinoma (AD-in-o-KAR-sih-NOH-muh)

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

adenoid cystic cancer

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

adenoma (ad-in-O-ma)

A noncancerous tumor.

adenopathy (ad-en-OP-a-thee)

Large or swollen lymph glands.

adenosine triphosphate

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

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.

adjunct agent

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

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, hormone therapy, or biological therapy.

ADL

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

adnexal mass (ad-NEK-sul.)

A lump in tissue near the uterus, usually in the ovary or fallopian tube. Adnexal masses include ovarian cysts, ectopic (tubal) pregnancies, and benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) tumors.

adrenal gland (ah-DREE-nal)

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

adrenaline

A hormone and neurotransmitter. Also called epinephrine.

adrenocortical

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

Adriamycin

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

adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma

ATLL. An aggressive (fast-growing) type of T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma caused by the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). It is marked by bone and skin lesions, high calcium levels, and enlarged lymph nodes, spleen, and liver.

advance directive

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

advanced malignant mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma that is stage II, III, or IV.

adverse effect

An unwanted side effect of treatment.

adverse event (AD-vers eh-VENT)

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

AE-941

A substance made from shark cartilage that is being studied for its ability to prevent the growth of new blood vessels to solid tumors. It belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

AEE788

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

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.

aerodigestive tract

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

aerosolize

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

aflatoxin (AF-la-TOK-sin)

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

AFP

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.

AG-013736

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

AG2037

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

AG3340

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

AG337

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

agent study

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

agglutinin

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

aggressive

A quickly growing cancer.

aggressive lymphoma

A type of lymphoma that grows and spreads quickly, and has severe symptoms. It is seen frequently in patients who are HIV-positive (AIDS-related lymphoma). Also called intermediate-grade or high-grade lymphoma.

agnogenic myeloid metaplasia

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

agonist

A drug that triggers an action from a cell or another drug.

agranulocyte (A-gran-yoo-lo-SITE)

A type of white blood cell; monocytes and lymphocytes are agranulocytes.

AIDS

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (ah-KWY-erd im-YOON-o-de-FISH-en-see SIN-drome). A disease caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). People with AIDS are at an increased risk for developing certain cancers and for infections that usually occur only in individuals with a weak immune system.

AIDS-related cancer (.reh-LATE-id KAN-ser)

Certain cancer types that are more likely to occur in people who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The most common types are Kaposi's sarcoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Other AIDS-related cancers include Hodgkin's disease and cancers of the lung, mouth, cervix, and digestive system.

AJCC staging system

A system developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer for describing the extent of cancer in a patient's body. The descriptions include TNM: T describes the size of the tumor and if it has invaded nearby tissue, N describes any lymph nodes that are involved, and M describes metastasis (spread of cancer from one body part to another).

alanine aminopeptidase

AAP. An enzyme that is used as a biomarker to detect damage to the kidneys, and that may be used to help diagnose certain kidney disorders. It is found at high levels in the urine when there are kidney problems.

alanine transferase

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

alanosine

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

albinism (AL-bye-niz-em)

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

aldesleukin

A laboratory-made 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.

alemtuzumab

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

alendronate sodium

A drug 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.

Alimta (uh-LIM-tuh)

A drug that is used to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma and advanced non-small cell lung cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called enzyme inhibitors. Also called pemetrexed disodium and LY231514.

alkalinization (AL-ka-LIN-ih-ZAY-shun)

The process by which a substance becomes an alkali. An alkali is the opposite of an acid.

alkaloid

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

Alkeran

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

alkylating agent

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

ALL

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia. 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 lymphocytic leukemia.

allele

One of two or more DNA sequences occurring at a particular gene locus. Typically one allele ("normal" DNA sequence) is common, and other alleles (mutations) are rare.

allogeneic (Al-o-jen-AY-ik)

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

allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (AL-o-jen-AY-ik)

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

allogeneic stem cell transplantation (A-loh-jeh-NAY-ik)

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

allogenic

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

allopurinol

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

Allovectin-7

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

all-trans retinoic acid

A form of vitamin A that is used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia, usually together with other drugs, and to treat acne. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of other types of cancer. Also called tretinoin.

aloe-emodin

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

alopecia (al-oh-PEE-shuh)

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

alpha-fetoprotein (AL-fa-FEE-toe-PRO-teen)

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

Alteplase

A protein that is made by the body and that helps dissolve blood clots. It can also be made in the laboratory and is used in the treatment of heart attack and stroke. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. Alteplase belongs to the family of drugs called systemic thrombolytic agents. Also called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (r-tPA), and Activase.

alteration

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

alternative medicine

Practices used instead of standard treatments. They generally are not recognized by the medical community as standard or conventional medical approaches. Alternative medicine includes dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, acupuncture, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation.

altretamine

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

alum

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

aluminum sulfate

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

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.

Amanita phalloides

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

Ambien®

A drug used to treat insomnia (inability to sleep), and anxiety. It belongs to a family of drugs known as imidazopyridines (sedative hypnotics). Also called zolpidem.

AMD3100

A substance that is being studied for its ability to move stem cells out of the bone marrow and into circulating blood where they can be collected for use in stem cell transplantation. Stem cell transplantation is a method of replacing blood-forming stem cells that were destroyed by cancer treatment. AMD3100 belongs to the families of drugs called stem cell mobilizers and CXCR4 inhibitors.

amelanotic melanoma

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

amethopterin

A drug used to treat some types of cancers, including breast, head and neck, lung, blood, and bone, and other disorders. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. Also called methotrexate.

AMG 706

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

amifostine

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

amikacin

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

amino acid sequence

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 (a-MEE-no-gloo-TETH-ih-mide)

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

aminoglycoside antibiotic

A type of antibiotic that works against many types of bacteria and includes streptomycin, gentamicin, and neomycin. Aminoglycosides are used to treat bacterial infections.

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.

AML

Acute myelogenous 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 nonlymphocytic leukemia.

amonafide

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

amoxicillin

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

amphotericin B

A drug used in the treatment of infections caused by fungi. It belongs to the family of drugs called antifungals.

ampulla

A sac-like enlargement of a canal or duct.

ampulla of Vater

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

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.

amygdalin

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

amylase (AM-il-aze)

An enzyme that helps the body digest starches.

amyloidosis (am-a-loy-DOE-sis)

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.

anagrelide (an-AG-re-lide)

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

anakinra (an-a-KIN-ra)

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

anal

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

anal cancer (AY-nul KAN-ser)

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

analgesic

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

analog

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

analysis

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

anaphylactic shock

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

anaplastic (an-ah-PLAS-tik)

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

anaplastic large cell lymphoma

An aggressive (fast-growing) type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that is usually of the T-cell type. The cancer cells express a marker called CD30 or Ki-1 on the surface, and may appear in the lymph nodes, skin, bones, soft tissues, lungs, or liver.

anaplastic thyroid cancer (an-a-PLAS-tik)

A rare, aggressive type of thyroid cancer in which the malignant (cancer) cells look very different from normal thyroid 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 is used to decrease estrogen production and suppress the growth of tumors that need estrogen to grow. It belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors.

ancestim (an-SESS-tim)

A drug that is being studied for its ability to increase the number of stem cells in the blood. It belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic cell growth factors. Also called stem cell factor (SCF) and Stemgen.

androblastoma (AN-droh-bla-STOH-muh)

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

androgen (AN-dro-jen)

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

androgen ablation

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 (antiandrogens). Also called androgen suppression.

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, antiandrogens. Also called androgen ablation.

androgen-independent

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

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)

Drugs or 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.

anesthesiologist

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

anesthetic (an-es-THET-ik)

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

angelica root (an-JEH-lih-kuh root)

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

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.

angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma

An aggressive (fast-growing) type of T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma marked by enlarged lymph nodes and hypergammaglobulinemia (increased antibodies in the blood). Other symptoms may include a skin rash, fever, weight loss, or night sweats.

angiosarcoma (AN-jee-o-sar-KO-ma)

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

angiostatin

A protein normally made by the body. It can also be made in the laboratory, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Angiostatin may prevent the growth of new blood vessels from the surrounding tissue to a solid tumor. It belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor

ACE inhibitor. A type of drug that is used to lower blood pressure. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors belong to the family of drugs called antihypertensives.

Angiozyme

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of kidney cancer. It may prevent the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to the tumor. It belongs to the families of drugs called VEGF receptor and angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called RPI.4610.

anhydrovinblastine

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

anidulafungin

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

animal model

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

annamycin

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

anorexia

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

anorexia nervosa

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

ansamycin

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

antagonist

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

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 heart. The tube is inserted through an incision next to the breastbone. This procedure is usually used to get a tissue sample from the lymph nodes on the left side of the chest. Also called the Chamberlain procedure.

anterior mediastinum

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

anthracenedione

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

anthracycline

A type of antibiotic that comes from the fungus Streptococcus peucetius. Anthracyclines are used as treatments for cancer. Daunorubicin, doxorubicin, and epirubicin are anthracyclines.

anthraquinone

A type of anticancer drug.

antiandrogen (an-tee-AN-dro-jen)

A drug used to block the production or interfere with the action of male sex hormones.

antiandrogen therapy

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

antiangiogenesis

Prevention of the growth of new blood vessels.

antiangiogenic

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

antiapoptotic

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

antibiotic (an-tih-by-AH-tik)

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

antibody (AN-tih-BAH-dee)

A type of protein made by plasma cells (a type of white blood cell) in response to an antigen (foreign substance). Each antibody can bind to only one 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 (AN-tee-ka-KEK-see-a)

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

anticancer antibiotic

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

anticarcinogenic (AN-tee-KAR-sin-o-JEN-ik)

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

anti-CEA antibody

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

anticoagulant

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

anticonvulsant (AN-tee-kon-VUL-sant)

A drug that prevents, reduces, or stops convulsions or seizures.

antidepressant

A drug used to treat depression.

antiemetic (AN-tee-eh-MEH-tik)

A drug that prevents or reduces nausea and vomiting.

antiestrogen

A substance that blocks the activity of estrogens, the family of hormones that promote the development and maintenance of female sex characteristics.

antifolate

A substance that blocks the activity of folic acid. Antifolates are used to treat cancer. Also called folate antagonist.

antifungal

A drug that treats infections caused by fungi.

antigen

A substance that causes the immune system to make a specific immune response.

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.

antiglobulin test

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

antihormone therapy

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

anti-idiotype vaccine

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

anti-inflammatory

Having to do with reducing inflammation.

antimetabolite

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

antimicrotubule agent

A drug that inhibits cell growth by stopping cell division. Antimicrotubule agents are used as treatments for cancer. Also called antimitotic agents, mitotic inhibitors, and taxanes. Docetaxel and paclitaxel are antimicrotubule agents.

antimitotic agent

A drug that inhibits cell growth by stopping cell division. Antimitotic agents are used as treatments for cancer. Also called antimicrotubule agents, mitotic inhibitors, and taxanes. Docetaxel and paclitaxel are antimitotic agents.

antineoplastic

A substance that blocks the formation of neoplasms (growths that may become cancerous).

antineoplastic antibiotic

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

antineoplaston

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

antioxidant (an-tee-OKS-i-dent)

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.

antiparasitic

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

antiretroviral therapy

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

antisense 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 (AN-tee-too-ber-kyoo-LOW-sis)

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

antitumor antibiotic

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

antiviral

A drug used to treat infections caused by viruses.

anus (AY-nus)

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

anxiety (ang-ZY-uh-tee)

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

anxiolytic

A drug used in the treatment of anxiety and muscle spasms.

aorta (a-OR-tuh)

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

APC

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

APC vaccine

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

APC8015

Immune system cells that are collected from a patient with prostate cancer and treated in the laboratory with a molecule found on prostate cells. The treated cells are being studied for their ability to stimulate the immune system to kill prostate cancer cells.

apheresis

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

aplastic anemia

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

aplidine

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

apocrine gland

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

apolizumab

A type of monoclonal antibody that is being studied as a treatment for hematologic (blood) cancers. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells.

apoptosis (AY-pup-TOE-siss)

A type of cell death in which a series of molecular steps in a cell leads to its death. This is the body's normal way of getting rid of unneeded or abnormal cells. The process of apoptosis may be blocked in cancer cells. Also called programmed cell death.

appendectomy

Surgery to remove the appendix (small finger-shaped pouch at the end of the first part of the large intestine).

appendix

A small, fingerlike pouch that sticks out from the cecum (the first part of the large intestine near the end of the small intestine).

aqueous

Having to do with water.

arctigenin

A substance found in certain plants, including burdock. It has shown antiviral and anticancer effects. Arctigenin belongs to a group of substances called lignans.

arctiin

A substance found in certain plants, including burdock. It has shown anticancer effects. Arctiin belongs to a group of substances called lignans.

areola (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 in the treatment of cancer.

aromatase inhibitor (a-ROW-ma-tays in-HIB-it-er)

A drug that prevents the formation of estradiol, a female hormone, by interfering with an aromatase enzyme. Aromatase inhibitors are used as a type of hormone therapy for postmenopausal women who have hormone-dependent breast cancer.

arrhenoblastoma (uh-REE-noh-bla-STOH-muh)

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

arsenic

A poisonous chemical used to kill weeds and pests. Also used in cancer therapy.

arsenic trioxide

A substance that induces programmed cell death (apoptosis) in certain cancer cells. It belongs to the family of drugs called antineoplastics.

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.

artery (AR-tuh-ree)

A blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to tissues and organs in the body.

arthritis

A disease that causes inflammation and pain in the joints.

asbestos (as-BES-tus)

A natural material that is made of tiny fibers. Asbestos can cause several serious diseases, including cancer.

ascites (ah-SYE-teez)

Abnormal build-up of fluid in the abdomen that may cause swelling. In late-stage cancer, tumor cells may be found in the fluid in the abdomen. Ascites also occurs in patients with liver disease.

ascorbic acid (a-SKOR-bik ASS-id)

A key nutrient that the body needs to fight infection, heal wounds, and keep tissues healthy, including the blood vessels, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bones, muscle, skin, teeth, and gums. It is an antioxidant that helps prevent tissue damage caused by free radicals. The body does not make or store ascorbic acid, so it must be taken in every day. It is found in many fruits and vegetables, especially green peppers, citrus, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, leafy greens, potatoes, and cantaloupe. Also called vitamin C.

asparaginase

An enzyme used in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antineoplastics.

aspartate transaminase

An enzyme found in the liver, heart, and other tissues. A high level of aspartate transaminase released into the blood may be a sign of liver or heart damage, cancer, or other diseases. Also called serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase or SGOT.

aspergillosis

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

Aspergillus

A family of fungi commonly found in soil. Certain types may cause disease, especially in people who have 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 or tissue through a needle. Also, the accidental breathing in of food or fluid into the lungs.

aspirin

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

assay (AS-say)

A laboratory test to find and measure the amount of a specific substance.

assessment (uh-SESS-ment)

In healthcare, a process used to learn about a patient's condition. This may include a complete medical history, medical tests, a physical exam, a test of learning skills, tests to find out if the patient is able to carry out the tasks of daily living, a mental health evaluation, and a review of social support and community resources available to the patient.

assisted reproductive technology

ART. A term used to describe collectively a number of noncoital methods of conception that are used to treat infertility with donor or nondonor eggs and sperm including in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT).

assistive device (uh-SISS-tiv.)

A tool that helps a person with a disability to do a certain task. Examples are a cane, wheelchair, scooter, walker, hearing aid, or special bed.

assistive technology (uh-SISS-tiv.)

Any device or technology that helps a disabled person. Examples are special grips for holding utensils, computer screen monitors to help a person with low vision read more easily, computers controlled by talking, telephones that make the sound louder, and lifters to help a person rise out of a chair.

asthenia

Weakness; lack of energy and strength.

asthma (AZ-muh)

A chronic disease in which the bronchial airways in the lungs become narrowed and swollen, making it difficult to breathe. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, and rapid breathing. An attack may be brought on by pet hair, dust, smoke, pollen, mold, exercise, cold air, or stress.

astrocyte (AS-troe-site)

A type of cell found in the brain and spinal cord. An astrocyte is a small, star-shaped glial cell (a cell that surrounds and supports nerve cells).

astrocytoma (as-troe-sye-TOE-ma)

A tumor that begins in the brain or spinal cord in small, star-shaped cells called astrocytes.

asymmetry

Lack or absence of balanced proportions between parts of a thing.

asymptomatic

Having no signs or symptoms of disease.

atamestane

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Atamestane blocks the production of the hormone estrogen in the body. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiestrogens.

ataxia

Loss of muscle coordination.

ataxia-telangiectasia

A rare, inherited, progressive, degenerative disease of childhood that causes loss of muscle control, a weakened immune system, and an increased risk of cancer.

ataxic gait (ah-TAK-sik)

Awkward, uncoordinated walking.

atelectasis (at-uh-LEK-tuh-sis)

Failure of the lung to expand (inflate) completely. This may be caused by a blocked airway, a tumor, general anesthesia, pneumonia or other lung infections, lung disease, or long-term bedrest with shallow breathing. Sometimes called a collapsed lung.

athymic nude mouse

A type of laboratory mouse that is hairless, lacks a normal thymus gland, and has a defective immune system because of a genetic mutation. Athymic nude mice are often used in cancer research because they do not reject tumor cells, from mice or other species.

ATLL

Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma. An aggressive (fast-growing) type of T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma caused by the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). It is marked by bone and skin lesions, high calcium levels, and enlarged lymph nodes, spleen and liver.

ATP

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

atrasentan

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called endothelin-1 protein receptor antagonists.

attenuated

Weakened or thinned. Attenuated strains of disease-causing bacteria and viruses are often used as vaccines. The weakened strains are used as vaccines because they stimulate a protective immune response while causing no disease or only mild disease in the person receiving the vaccine.

atypical hyperplasia (AY-TIP-i-kul hy-per-PLAY-zha)

A benign (noncancerous) condition in which cells look abnormal under a microscope and are increased in number.

atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor

ATT/RHT or AT/RT. An aggressive cancer of the central nervous system, kidney, or liver that occurs in very young children.

augmerosen

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It may kill cancer cells by blocking the production of a protein that makes cancer cells live longer and by making them more sensitive to anticancer drugs. It belongs to the family of drugs called antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotides. Also called oblimersen, Genasense, and bcl-2 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide G3139.

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 (aw-TAHL-o-gus)

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

autologous bone marrow

In transplantation, refers to a person's own bone marrow. Bone marrow is the soft, sponge-like tissue in the center of most large bones that produces white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

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 lymphocyte

In transplantation, refers to a person's own white blood cells. Lymphocytes have a number of roles in the immune system, including the production of antibodies and other substances that fight infection and disease.

autologous stem cell transplantation (aw-TAH-loh-gus)

A procedure in which blood-forming stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) are removed, stored, and later given back to the same person.

autologous tumor cell

A cancer cell from an individual's own tumor.

autosomal dominant

Autosomal dominant inheritance refers to genetic conditions that occur when a mutation is present in one copy of a given gene (i.e., the person is heterozygous).

autosomal recessive

Autosomal recessive inheritance refers to genetic conditions that occur only when mutations are present in both copies of a given gene (i.e., the person is homozygous for a mutation, or carries two different mutations of the same gene, a state referred to as compound heterozygosity).

Avastin

A monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of colorectal cancer that has spread. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It may prevent the growth of new blood vessels from surrounding tissue to a solid tumor. Also called bevacizumab.

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-suh-LAIR-ee dis-EK-shun)

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

axillary lymph node (AK-suh-LAIR-ee)

A lymph node in the armpit region that drains lymph channels from the breast.

axillary lymph node dissection (AK-suh-LAIR-ee.dis-EK-shun)

Surgery to remove lymph nodes found in the armpit region. Also called axillary dissection.

azacitidine

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

AZD2171

A substance that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

azoxymethane

A substance that is used in cancer research to cause colon tumors in laboratory animals. This is done to test new diets, drugs, and procedures for use in cancer prevention and treatment.

AZQ

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

AZT

A drug that inhibits the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. Also called zidovudine.