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Cancer Glossary - L

L-377,202  
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.
L-778,123  
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called enzyme inhibitors. It may inhibit the transformation of normal cells into cancer cells.
laboratory study  
Research done in a laboratory. These studies may use test tubes or animals to find out if a drug, procedure, or treatment is likely to be useful. Laboratory studies take place before any testing is done in humans.
laboratory test  
A medical procedure that involves testing a sample of blood, urine, or other substance from the body. Tests can help determine a diagnosis, plan treatment, check to see if treatment is working, or monitor the disease over time.
lactose  
A type of sugar found in milk and milk products.
lactose intolerance  
The inability to digest or absorb lactose, a type of sugar found in milk and other dairy products.
LAK cells  
White blood cells that are stimulated in a laboratory to kill tumor cells. Also called lymphokine-activated killer cells.
lamivudine  
A drug used to treat infection caused by viruses.
laparoscope  
A thin, lighted tube used to look at tissues and organs inside the abdomen.
laparoscopic-assisted colectomy  
Surgery done with the aid of a laparoscope (a thin, lighted tube) to remove part or all of the colon through small incisions made in the wall of the abdomen.
laparoscopy  (lap-a-RAHS-ko-pee)
The insertion of a thin, lighted tube (called a laparoscope) through the abdominal wall to inspect the inside of the abdomen and remove tissue samples.
laparotomy  (lap-a-RAH-toe-mee)
A surgical incision made in the wall of the abdomen.
large cell carcinomas  (kar-sin-O-mas)
A group of lung cancers in which the cells are large and look abnormal when viewed under a microscope.
large granular lymphocytes  
A type of white blood cell that contains granules with enzymes that can kill tumor cells or microbial cells. Also called natural killer cells.
large intestine  
The long, tube-like organ that is connected to the small intestine and rectum. The large intestine removes water and some nutrients and electrolytes from digested food. The remaining material, solid waste called stool, moves through the large intestine to the rectum and leaves the body through the anus. Also called the colon.
laryngeal  (lair-IN-jee-al)
Having to do with the larynx.
laryngectomee  (lair-in-JEK-toe-mee)
A person whose larynx (voice box) has been removed.
laryngectomy  (lair-in-JEK-toe-mee)
An operation to remove all or part of the larynx (voice box).
laryngitis  
Inflammation of the larynx.
laryngoscope  (lair-IN-jo-skope)
A thin, lighted tube used to examine the larynx (voice box).
laryngoscopy  (lair-in-GOS-ko-pee)
Examination of the larynx (voice box) with a mirror (indirect laryngoscopy) or with a laryngoscope (direct laryngoscopy).
larynx  (LAIR-inks)
The area of the throat containing the vocal cords and used for breathing, swallowing, and talking. Also called the voice box.
laser  (LAY-zer)
A device that concentrates light into an intense, narrow beam used to cut or destroy tissue. It is used in microsurgery, photodynamic therapy, and for a variety of diagnostic purposes.
laser therapy  
The use of an intensely powerful beam of light to kill cancer cells.
LCIS  
Lobular carcinoma in situ. Abnormal cells found in the lobules of the breast. This condition seldom becomes invasive cancer; however, having lobular carcinoma in situ increases one's risk of developing breast cancer in either breast.
lectin  
A complex molecule that has both protein and sugars. Lectins are able to bind to the outside of a cell and cause biochemical changes in it. Lectins are made by both animals and plants.
leflunomide  
An anticancer drug that works by inhibiting a cancer cell growth factor. Also called SU101.
leiomyoma  
A benign smooth muscle tumor, usually in the uterus or gastrointestinal tract. Also called fibroid.
leiomyosarcoma  
A tumor of the muscles in the uterus, abdomen, or pelvis.
lentinan  
A beta-glucan (a type of polysaccharide) from the mushroom Lentinus edodes (shiitake mushroom). It has been studied in Japan as a treatment for cancer.
lepirudin  
A drug that inhibits blood clotting. It is being studied in cancer treatment.
leptomeningeal cancer  
A tumor that involves the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord.
leptomeningeal metastases  
Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord.
leridistim  
A substance that is being studied for its ability to increase numbers of white blood cells in people undergoing chemotherapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called colony-stimulating factors.
lerisetron  
A drug that prevents or reduces nausea and vomiting.
lesion  (LEE-zhun)
An area of abnormal tissue change.
letrozole  
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors. Letrozole is used to decrease estrogen production and suppress the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors.
leucovorin  
A drug used to protect normal cells from high doses of the anticancer drug methotrexate. It is also used to increase the antitumor effects of fluorouracil and tegafur-uracil, an oral treatment alternative to intravenous fluorouracil.
leukapheresis  
Removal of the blood to collect specific blood cells; the remaining blood is returned to the body.
leukemia  (loo-KEE-mee-a)
Cancer of blood-forming tissue.
leukocytes  (LOO-ko-sites)
Cells that help the body fight infections and other diseases. Also called white blood cells (WBCs).
leukopenia  (LOO-ko-PEE-nya)
A condition in which the number of leukocytes (white blood cells) in the blood is reduced.
leukoplakia  (loo-ko-PLAY-kee-a)
A white patch that may develop on mucous membranes such as the cheek, gums, or tongue and may become cancerous.
leuprolide  
A drug that belongs to a family of drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues. It is used to block hormone production in the ovaries or testicles.
leuvectin  
An agent that delivers the gene for interleukin-2 (IL-2) into cells to increase production of IL-2 by the cells.
levamisole  
An antiparasitic drug that is also being studied in cancer therapy with fluorouracil.
levofloxacin  
A substance used to treat bacterial infections. It belongs to the family of drugs called quinolone antibiotics.
LGD1069  
An anticancer drug used to decrease the growth of some types of cancer cells. Also called bexarotene.
LH-RH  
Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone. A hormone that stimulates the production of sex hormones in men and women.
Lhermitte's sign  (lair-MEETS sign)
A sensation similar to an electrical shock radiating from the back of the head down the spine as the neck is bent forward.
Li-Fraumeni syndrome  
A rare, inherited predisposition to multiple cancers, caused by an alteration in the p53 tumor suppressor gene.
liarozole  
An anticancer drug that promotes differentiation by increasing the levels of retinoic acid within the tumor.
ligation  (lye-GAY-shun)
The process of tying off blood vessels so that blood cannot flow to a part of the body or to a tumor.
light microscope  
A microscope (device to magnify small objects) in which objects are lit directly by white light.
limb perfusion  (per-FYOO-zhun)
A technique that may be used to deliver anticancer drugs directly to an arm or leg. The flow of blood to and from the limb is temporarily stopped with a tourniquet, and anticancer drugs are put directly into the blood of the limb. This allows the person to receive a high dose of drugs in the area where the cancer occurred. Also called isolated limb perfusion.
limited-stage small cell lung cancer  
Cancer found in one lung and in nearby lymph nodes.
linac  
A machine that creates high-energy radiation to treat cancer, using electricity to form a stream of fast-moving subatomic particles. Also called mega-voltage (MeV) linear accelerator or a linear accelerator.
linear accelerator  
A machine that creates high-energy radiation to treat cancer, using electricity to form a stream of fast-moving subatomic particles. Also called mega-voltage (MeV) linear accelerator or a linac.
liothyronine sodium  
A thyroid hormone. Also called triiodothyronine or T-3.
lipid  
Fat.
liposarcoma  
A rare cancer of the fat cells.
liposomal  
A drug preparation that contains the active drug in very tiny fat particles. This fat-encapsulated drug is absorbed better, and its distribution to the tumor site is improved.
lisofylline  
A drug that may protect healthy cells from chemotherapy and radiation without inhibiting the effects of these therapies on tumor cells.
liver  
A large organ located in the upper abdomen. The liver cleanses the blood and aids in digestion by secreting bile.
liver cancer  
A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the liver.
liver metastases  
Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the liver.
liver scan  
An image of the liver created on a computer screen or on film. A radioactive substance is injected into a blood vessel and travels through the bloodstream. It collects in the liver, especially in abnormal areas, and can be detected by the scanner.
LMB-1 immunotoxin  
A toxic substance linked to an antibody that attaches to tumor cells and kills them.
LMB-2 immunotoxin  
A toxic substance linked to an antibody that attaches to tumor cells and kills them.
LMB-7 immunotoxin  
A toxic substance linked to an antibody that attaches to tumor cells and kills them.
LMB-9 immunotoxin  
A toxic substance linked to an antibody that attaches to tumor cells and kills them.
lobaplatin  
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called platinum compounds.
lobe  
A portion of an organ, such as the liver, lung, breast, thyroid, or brain.
lobectomy  (lo-BEK-toe-mee)
The removal of a lobe.
lobradimil  
A substance that is being studied for its ability to help other drugs reach the brain. It belongs to the family of drugs called bradykinin agonists. Also called RMP-7.
lobular carcinoma in situ  (LOB-yoo-lar kar-sin-O-ma in SYE-too)
LCIS. Abnormal cells found in the lobules of the breast. This condition seldom becomes invasive cancer; however, having lobular carcinoma in situ increases one's risk of developing breast cancer in either breast.
lobule  (LOB-yule)
A small lobe or subdivision of a lobe.
local anesthesia   (an-es-THEE-zha)
Drugs that cause a temporary loss of feeling in one part of the body. The patient remains awake but cannot feel the part of the body treated with the anesthetic.
local cancer  
An invasive malignant cancer confined entirely to the organ where the cancer began.
local therapy  
Treatment that affects cells in the tumor and the area close to it.
localization  (LO-kal-ih-ZAY-shun)
The process of determining or marking the location or site of a lesion or disease. May also refer to the process of keeping a lesion or disease in a specific location or site.
localized  
Restricted to the site of origin, without evidence of spread.
localized gallbladder cancer  
Cancer found only in the tissues that make up the wall of the gallbladder. Localized gallbladder cancer can be removed completely in an operation.
locally advanced cancer  
Cancer that has spread only to nearby tissues or lymph nodes.
lometrexol  
A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antifolates.
lomustine  
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.
loperamide hydrochloride  
An antidiarrheal drug.
losoxantrone  
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antipyrazoles.
low-grade lymphomas  
Lymphomas that tend to grow and spread slowly, including chronic lymphocytic lymphoma and follicular small cleaved cell lymphoma. Also called indolent lymphomas.
lower GI series  
X-rays of the colon and rectum (lower gastrointestinal tract) that are taken after a person is given a barium enema.
LU 79553  
An anticancer drug that kills cancer cells by affecting DNA synthesis.
LU-103793  
An anticancer drug that reduces the risk of tumor cell growth and reproduction.
lubricants  (LOO-brih-kants)
Oily or slippery substances.
lumbar puncture  
A procedure in which a needle is put into the lower part of the spinal column to collect cerebrospinal fluid or to give anticancer drugs intrathecally. Also called a spinal tap.
lumen  
The cavity or channel within a tube or tubular organ such as a blood vessel or the intestine.
lumpectomy  (lump-EK-toe-mee)
Surgery to remove the tumor and a small amount of normal tissue around it.
lung metastases  
Cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the lung.
lupus  
A chronic inflammatory connective tissue disease marked by skin rashes, joint pain and swelling, inflammation of the kidneys, inflammation of the fibrous tissue surrounding the heart (i.e., the pericardium), as well as other problems. Not all affected individuals display all of these problems. Also called systemic lupus erythematosus.
lurtotecan  
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors.
luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone  
LH-RH. A hormone that stimulates the production of sex hormones in men and women.
luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist  (LOO-tin-eye-zing. . .AG-o-nist)
LH-RH agonist. A drug that inhibits the secretion of sex hormones. In men, LH-RH agonist causes testosterone levels to fall. In women, LH-RH agonist causes the levels of estrogen and other sex hormones to fall.
lutetium texaphyrin  
A substance that is being studied in photodynamic therapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called metallotexaphyrins.
LY231514  
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called enzyme inhibitors. Also called pemetrexed disodium.
LY293111  
A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called leukotriene B4 receptor antagonists.
LY335979  
A substance that is being studied for its ability to reverse resistance to chemotherapy.
LY353381 hydrochloride  
A hormone substance used in the treatment of some types of cancer.
lycopene  
A red pigment found in tomatoes and some fruits.
lymph  (limf)
The almost colorless fluid that travels through the lymphatic system and carries cells that help fight infection and disease. Also called lymphatic fluid.
lymph gland  
A rounded mass of lymphatic tissue that is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. Also known as a lymph node. Lymph glands are spread out along lymphatic vessels and contain many lymphocytes, which filter the lymphatic fluid (lymph).
lymph node  
A rounded mass of lymphatic tissue that is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. Also known as a lymph gland. Lymph nodes are spread out along lymphatic vessels and contain many lymphocytes, which filter the lymphatic fluid (lymph).
lymph node dissection  
A surgical procedure in which the lymph nodes are removed and examined to see whether they contain cancer. Also called lymphadenectomy.
lymph node drainage  
The flow of lymph from an area of tissue into a particular lymph node.
lymph node mapping  
The use of dyes and radioactive substances to identify lymph nodes that contain tumor cells.
lymphadenectomy  
A surgical procedure in which the lymph nodes are removed and examined to see whether they contain cancer. Also called lymph node dissection.
lymphadenopathy  
Disease or swelling of the lymph nodes.
lymphangiogram  (lim-FAN-jee-o-gram)
An x-ray of the lymphatic system. A dye is injected into a lymphatic vessel and travels throughout the lymphatic system. The dye outlines the lymphatic vessels and organs on the x-ray.
lymphangiography  (lim-FAN-jee-AH-gra-fee)
An x-ray study of the lymphatic system. A dye is injected into a lymphatic vessel and travels throughout the lymphatic system. The dye outlines the lymphatic vessels and organs on the x-ray.
lymphatic fluid  (lim-FAT-ik)
The almost colorless fluid that travels through the lymphatic system and carries cells that help fight infection and disease. Also called lymph.
lymphatic system  (lim-FAT-ik)
The tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infection and other diseases. This system includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, and network of thin tubes that carry lymph and white blood cells. These tubes branch, like blood vessels, into all the tissues of the body.
lymphedema  (LIMF-eh-DEE-ma)
A condition in which excess fluid collects in tissue and causes swelling. It may occur in the arm or leg after lymph vessels or lymph nodes in the underarm or groin are removed or treated with radiation.
lymphocyte  (LIM-fo-site)
A type of white blood cell. Lymphocytes have a number of roles in the immune system, including the production of antibodies and other substances that fight infection and diseases.
lymphocytic  (lim-fo-SIT-ik)
Referring to lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.
lymphoepithelioma  (LIM-fo-EP-ih-THEE-lee-O-ma)
A type of cancer that begins in the tissues covering the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose).
lymphography  
An x-ray study of lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels made visible by the injection of a special dye.
lymphoid  (LIM-foyd)
Referring to lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Also refers to tissue in which lymphocytes develop.
lymphokine-activated killer cells  
White blood cells that are stimulated in a laboratory to kill tumor cells. Also called LAK cells.
lymphoma  (lim-FO-ma)
Cancer that arises in cells of the lymphatic system.
lymphomatoid granulomatosis  
Destructive growth of lymph cells, usually involving the lungs, skin, kidneys, and central nervous system. Grades I and II are not considered cancerous, but grade III is considered a lymphoma.
lymphoproliferative disorders  
Diseases in which cells of the lymphatic system grow excessively. These disorders are often treated like cancer.
lymphosarcoma  
An obsolete term for a malignant tumor of lymphatic tissue.
lymphoscintigraphy  (lim-fo-sin-TIG-ruh-fee)
A method used to identify the sentinel lymph node (the first draining lymph node near a tumor). A radioactive substance that can be taken up by lymph nodes is injected at the site of the tumor, and a doctor follows the movement of this substance on a computer screen. Once the lymph nodes that have taken up the substance are identified, they can be removed and examined to see if they contain tumor cells.
Lynch syndrome  
An inherited disorder in which affected individuals have a higher-than-normal chance of developing colon cancer and certain other types of cancer, usually before the age of 60. Also called hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer.
lysis  
In biology, lysis refers to the breakdown of a cell caused by damage to its plasma (outer) membrane. Lysis can be caused by chemical or physical means (for example, strong detergents or high-energy sound waves) or by an infection.
lysosome  
A sac-like compartment inside a cell that has enzymes that can break down cellular components that need to be destroyed.

 

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