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Cancer Glossary - A

 

A33 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.
abdomen  (AB-do-men)
The area of the body that contains the pancreas, stomach, intestine, 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.
abnormal  
Not normal. In referring to a lesion or growth, may be cancerous or premalignant (likely to become cancer).
accelerated phase  (ak-SEL-er-ay-ted)
Refers to chronic myelogenous leukemia that is progressing. The number of immature, abnormal white blood cells in the bone marrow and blood is higher than in the chronic phase but not as high as in the blast phase.
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 drug used in cancer prevention that belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids. It is also used in the treatment of psoriasis.
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.
acquired immunodeficiency syndrome  
AIDS. An acquired defect in immune system function caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). 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.
acridine carboxamide  
DACA. A substance that is being studied as an anticancer drug. It belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors.
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 studies  
In cancer prevention clinical trials, studies that focus on finding out whether actions people take can prevent cancer.
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 an abrupt onset of symptoms and a short course; not chronic.
acute leukemia  
A rapidly progressing cancer of the blood-forming tissue (bone marrow).
acute lymphoblastic 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 lymphocytic leukemia.
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 myeloid 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 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.
acyclovir  
An antiviral agent used to prevent or treat cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex infections that may occur when the body is immunosuppressed.
AD 32  
An anticancer drug that belongs to a family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics. It is an anthracycline.
addiction  
Uncontrollable craving, seeking, and use of a substance such as a drug or alcohol.
adenocarcinoma  (AD-in-o-kar-sin-O-ma)
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.
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. They produce steroid hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline, which help control control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important body functions.
adrenaline  
A hormone and neurotransmitter. 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)
Harmful substances made by certain types of mold (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus) that are often found on poorly stored grains and nuts. Consumption of foods contaminated with aflatoxins 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.
AG2037  
A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called glycinamide ribonucleotide formyl transferase inhibitors.
AG3340  
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. AG3340 is a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor. Also called prinomastat.
AG337  
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called thymidylate synthase inhibitors. Also called nolatrexed.
agent studies  
In cancer prevention clinical trials, studies that test whether taking certain medicines, vitamins, minerals, or food supplements can prevent cancer. Also called chemoprevention studies.
aggressive  
A quickly growing cancer.
aggressive lymphoma  
A quickly growing cancer that arises in the cells of the lymphatic system.
agonists  
Drugs that trigger 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. 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 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 monoclonal antibody used to treat leukemia. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory. They can find cancer cells and bind to them. 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.
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.
alkylating agents  
A family of anticancer drugs that 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.
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, the cells from which all blood cells develop, from a compatible, though not genetically identical, 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 compound used for immunotherapy.
alopecia  (al-oh-PEE-shuh)
Hair loss.
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.
alteration  
A change resulting in something that is different from the original.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
anaplastic large cell lymphoma  
A rare aggressive form of lymphoma (cancer that begins in cells of the lymphatic system) that is usually of T-cell origin.
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 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 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.
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)
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.
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, 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.
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.
annamycin  
A substance that is being studied as an anticancer drug. 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.
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 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.
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.
anticarcinogenic  (AN-tih-KAR-sin-o-JEN-ik)
Pertaining to something that prevents or delays the development of cancer.
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.
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  
Having to do with a drug used to treat tuberculosis.
antitumor antibiotics  
A group of anticancer drugs that block cell growth by interfering with DNA, the genetic material in cells. Also called anticancer antibiotics or antineoplastic antibiotics.
antivirals  
Drugs used to treat infections caused by viruses.
anus  (AY-nus)
The opening of the rectum to the outside of the body.
anxiolytic  
A medicine used to treat anxiety or 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.
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  
An anticancer drug obtained from a marine animal.
apolizumab  
A type of monoclonal antibody that is being studied as a treatment for hematologic (blood) cancers.
apoptosis  (ap-o-TOE-sis)
A normal series of events in a cell that leads to its death.
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.
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  
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.
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 enzyme used in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antineoplastics.
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.
assay  (AS-say)
A laboratory test to find and measure the amount of a specific substance.
astrocytoma  (as-tro-sye-TOE-ma)
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  
A drug being studied in the treatment of cancer. It 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.
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.
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 as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called endothelin 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  (hy-per-PLAY-zha)
A benign (noncancerous) condition in which cells have abnormal features and are increased in number.
augmerosen  
A drug that may kill cancer cells by blocking the production of a protein that makes cancer cells live longer. Also called bcl-2 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide G3139 and oblimersen.
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 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. Also called axillary lymph node dissection.
axillary lymph node dissection  
Surgery to remove lymph nodes found in the armpit region. Also called axillary dissection.
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.
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.

 

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