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Cancer Glossary - G

G-CSF  
Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. 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 filgrastim.
gabapentin  
A substance that is being studied as a treatment for relieving hot flashes in women with breast cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticonvulsants.
gallbladder  (GAWL-blad-er)
The pear-shaped organ found 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.
ganglioside  
A complex molecule that contains both lipids (fats) and carbohydrates (sugars) and is found in the plasma (outer) membrane of many kinds of cells. Several different types of gangliosides have been identified.
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.
gastrinoma  (gas-tri-NO-ma)
A tumor that causes overproduction of gastric acid. It usually occurs in the islet cells of the pancreas but may also occur in the esophagus, stomach, spleen, or lymph nodes.
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)
GI. 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.
general anesthesia  (an-es-THEE-zha)
Drugs that cause loss of feeling or awareness and put the person to sleep.
generic  
Official nonbrand names by which medicines are known. Generic names usually refer to the chemical name of the drug.
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.
genome  
The complete genetic material of an organism.
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.
germinoma  (jer-mih-NO-ma)
The most frequent type of germ-cell tumor in the brain.
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.
Gerota's fascia  
A fibrous envelope of tissue that surrounds the kidney. Also called renal fascia.
gestational trophoblastic disease  
A rare cancer in women of childbearing age in which cancer cells grow in the tissues that are formed in the uterus after conception. Also called gestational trophoblastic tumor, gestational trophoblastic neoplasia, molar pregnancy, or choriocarcinoma.
gestational trophoblastic neoplasia  
A rare cancer in women of childbearing age in which cancer cells grow in the tissues that are formed in the uterus after conception. Also called gestational trophoblastic disease, gestational trophoblastic tumor, molar pregnancy, or choriocarcinoma.
gestational trophoblastic tumor  
A rare cancer in women of childbearing age in which cancer cells grow in the tissues that are formed in the uterus after conception. Also called gestational trophoblastic disease, gestational trophoblastic neoplasia, molar pregnancy, or choriocarcinoma.
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.
GIST  
Gastrointestinal stromal tumor. A type of tumor that usually begins in cells in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. It can be benign or malignant.
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.
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.
glioblastoma  (glee-o-blas-TOE-ma)
A general term that refers to malignant astrocytoma, a type of brain tumor.
glioblastoma multiforme  (glee-o-blas-TOE-ma mul-tih-FOR-may)
A type of brain tumor that forms from glial (supportive) tissue of the brain. It grows very quickly and has cells that look very different from normal cells. Also called grade IV astrocytoma.
glioma  (glee-O-ma)
A cancer of the brain that comes from glial, or supportive, cells.
gliosarcoma  
A type of glioma (cancer of the brain that comes from glial, or supportive, cells).
glottis  (GLAH-tis)
The middle part of the larynx; the area where the vocal cords are located.
glucagonoma  (GLOO-kuh-guh-NO-ma)
A rare pancreatic tumor that produces a hormone called glucagon. Glucagonomas can produce symptoms similar to diabetes.
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  
A type of sugar; the chief source of energy for living organisms.
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.
glycoprotein 100  
gp 100. A tumor-specific antigen used in the development of cancer vaccines.
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 colony-stimulating factor that stimulates the production of white blood cells, especially granulocytes and macrophages, and cells (in the bone marrow) that are precursors of platelets. It is a cytokine that belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic (blood-forming) agents. Also called sargramostim.
GM2-KLH vaccine  
A substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies that fight certain cancer cells.
goiter  
An enlarged thyroid. It may be caused by too little iodine in the diet or by other conditions. Most goiters are not cancer.
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.
grade IV astrocytoma  
A type of brain tumor that forms from glial (supportive) tissue of the brain. It grows very quickly and has cells that look very different from normal cells. Also called glioblastoma multiforme.
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. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiemetics.
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 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 filgrastim.
granulocytopenia  
A deficiency in the number of granulocytes, a type of white blood cell.
granulosa cell tumor  
A type of slow-growing, malignant tumor that usually affects the ovary.
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  
Having to do with the female reproductive tract (including the cervix, endometrium, fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, and vagina).
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.

 

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