Disease & Drug Info

Glossary of Terms

A6

A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. A6 is a small piece of a protein called urokinase (an enzyme that dissolves blood clots or prevents them from forming). It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent and a type of antimetastatic agent. Also called urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA)-derived peptide A6.

AAP

An enzyme that is normally found in healthy kidneys. It may be found at high levels in the urine when there are kidney problems. It is used as a biomarker to detect damage to the kidneys caused by drugs and other agents. It may also be used to diagnose certain kidney and liver disorders. Also called alanine aminopeptidase.

abarelix

listen (uh-BAYR-eh-lix) 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.

ABCA1 pathway

listen ( PATH-way) Describes a group of proteins in a cell that work together to help remove extra cholesterol and certain fats from tissue in the body. Changes in the ABCA1 pathway may lead to diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Drugs or substances that affect this pathway are being studied in the prevention and treatment of some diseases.

ABCD rating

listen (... RAY-ting) 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 Jewett staging system and Whitmore-Jewett staging system.

abdomen

listen (AB-doh-men) The area of the body that contains the pancreas, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, and other organs.

abdominal

listen (ab-DAH-mih-nul) 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.

abdominal ultrasound

listen (ab-DAH-mih-nul UL-truh-sownd) A procedure used to examine the organs in the abdomen. An ultrasound transducer (probe) is pressed firmly against the skin of the abdomen. High-energy sound waves from the transducer bounce off tissues and create echoes. The echoes are sent to a computer, which makes a picture called a sonogram. Also called transabdominal ultrasound.

abdominal x-ray

listen (ab-DAH-mih-nul EX-ray) An x-ray of the organs inside the abdomen. An x-ray is a type of radiation that can pass through the body and onto film, making pictures of areas inside the body. X-rays may be used to help diagnose disease.

abdominoperineal resection

listen (ab-DAH-mih-noh-PAYR-ih-NEE-ul ree-SEK-shun) 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.

Abegrin

listen (A-beh-grin) A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer and other conditions. Abegrin binds to a protein on the surface of blood vessels and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It may also prevent the spread of cancer. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent, a type of metastasis inhibitor, and a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called etaracizumab, humanized monoclonal antibody MEDI-522, and MEDI-522.

aberrant crypt foci

listen (uh-BAYR-unt kript FOH-sy) Clusters of abnormal tube-like glands in the lining of the colon and rectum. Aberrant crypt foci form before colorectal polyps and are one of the earliest changes that can be seen in the colon that may lead to cancer. Also called ACF.

ABI-007

A drug used to treat breast cancer that has come back or spread to other parts of the body. It is also used with carboplatin to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer in patients who are not able to have surgery or radiation therapy. It is also used with gemcitabine hydrochloride to treat pancreatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. ABI-007 is a form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel and may cause fewer side effects than paclitaxel. It stops cancer cells from growing and dividing, and may kill them. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called Abraxane, nanoparticle paclitaxel, paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation, and protein-bound paclitaxel.

abiraterone acetate

listen (A-bih-RA-teh-rone A-seh-tayt) A drug used with prednisone to treat prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and has not gotten better with other hormone therapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Abiraterone acetate lowers the amount of androgens (male hormones), such as testosterone, made by the body. This may stop the growth of cancer cells that need androgens to grow. Abiraterone acetate is a type of antiandrogen. Also called Zytiga.

ablation

listen (a-BLAY-shun) 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

listen (ab-NOR-mul) Not normal. Describes a state, condition, or behavior that is unusual or different from what is considered normal. An abnormal lesion or growth in or on the body may be benign (not cancer), precancerous or premalignant (likely to become cancer), or malignant (cancer).

ABO blood group system

listen ( blud groop SIS-tem) A system used to group human blood into different types, based on the presence or absence of certain markers on the surface of red blood cells. The four main blood types are A, B, O, and AB. For a blood transfusion, the ABO blood group system is used to match the blood type of the donor and the person receiving the transfusion. People with blood type O can donate blood to anyone and are called universal donors. People with blood type AB can accept blood from all donors and are called universal recipients. People with type A or B can receive matching blood or type O blood.

ABR test

listen (... test) A test used to detect some types of hearing loss, such as hearing loss caused by injury or tumors that affect nerves involved in hearing. Electrodes are placed on the head and certain tones or clicking sounds are made. The electrodes measure nerve signals in the brain when it reacts to the sounds. Also called auditory brain stem response test, BAER test, and brain stem auditory evoked response test.

Abraxane

listen (uh-BRAK-sayn) A drug used to treat breast cancer that has come back or spread to other parts of the body. It is also used with carboplatin to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer in patients who are not able to have surgery or radiation therapy. It is also used with gemcitabine hydrochloride to treat pancreatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Abraxane is a form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel and may cause fewer side effects than paclitaxel. It stops cancer cells from growing and dividing, and may kill them. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called ABI-007, nanoparticle paclitaxel, paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation, and protein-bound paclitaxel.

abscess

listen (AB-ses) 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.

absolute neutrophil count

listen (AB-soh-loot NOO-troh-fil kownt) A measure of the number of neutrophils in the blood. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell. They help the body fight infection. An absolute neutrophil count may be used to check for infection, inflammation, leukemia, and other conditions. The lower a person's absolute neutrophil count is, the higher the risk is of getting an infection. Having an absolute neutrophil count of less than 500 means there is a high risk of getting an infection. Cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, may reduce the absolute neutrophil count. Also called ANC.

absolute risk

listen (AB-soh-loot risk) A measure of the risk of a certain event happening. In cancer research, it is the likelihood that a person who is free of a specific type of cancer at a given age will develop that cancer over a certain period of time. For example, a woman 35 years of age, with no known risk factors for breast cancer, has an absolute risk of getting breast cancer over a lifetime of 90 years of about 13.5%, meaning one out of every seven women will develop breast cancer.

absorption

listen (ub-SORP-shun) The process of taking nutrients from the digestive system into the blood so they can be used in the body.

ABT-263

A substance being studied in the treatment of lymphomas and other types of cancer. It blocks some of the enzymes that keep cancer cells from dying. It is a type of Bcl-2 family inhibitor. Also called navitoclax.

ABT-510

A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of angiogenesis inhibitor.

ABT-751

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

ABT-869

A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. ABT-869 blocks the action of several growth factors. It may also block the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow and may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of angiogensis inhibitor. Also called multitargeted receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor ABT-869.

ABT-888

A substance being studied in the treatment of breast cancers caused by mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks an enzyme involved in many functions of the cell, including the repair of DNA damage. DNA damage may be caused by normal cell actions, UV light, some anticancer drugs, and radiation used to treat cancer. ABT-888 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called PARP-1 inhibitor ABT-888 and veliparib.

ABVD

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), bleomycin sulfate, vinblastine sulfate, and dacarbazine. Also called ABVD regimen.

ABVD regimen

listen ( REH-jih-men) An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), bleomycin sulfate, vinblastine sulfate, and dacarbazine. Also called ABVD.

ABVE

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used with radiation therapy to treat childhood Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), bleomycin sulfate, vincristine sulfate, and etoposide. Also called ABVE regimen, DBVE, and DBVE regimen.

ABVE regimen

listen ( REH-jih-men) An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used with radiation therapy to treat childhood Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), bleomycin sulfate, vincristine sulfate, and etoposide. Also called ABVE, DBVE, and DBVE regimen.

ABVE-PC

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used with radiation therapy to treat childhood Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), bleomycin sulfate, vincristine sulfate, etoposide, prednisone, and cyclophosphamide. Also called ABVE-PC regimen, DBVE-PC, and DBVE-PC regimen.

ABVE-PC regimen

listen ( REH-jih-men) An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used with radiation therapy to treat childhood Hodgkin lymphoma. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), bleomycin sulfate, vincristine sulfate, etoposide, prednisone, and cyclophosphamide. Also called ABVE-PC, DBVE-PC, and DBVE-PC regimen.

ABX-EGF

A human monoclonal antibody that is being used to treat colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients whose disease has not gotten better during or after treatment with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. ABX-EGF binds to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and may block tumor cell growth. Also called panitumumab and Vectibix.

AC

An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used with other types of therapy to treat breast cancer, including breast cancer that has spread or come back. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide. Also called AC regimen.

AC regimen

listen ( REH-jih-men) An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used with other types of therapy to treat breast cancer, including breast cancer that has spread or come back. It includes the drugs doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide. Also called AC.

ACAPHA

listen (a-KA-fuh) A mixture of six herbs that has been used in China to prevent and treat diseases such as lung and esophageal cancers. It is being studied in the United States and Canada in the prevention of lung cancer in people who used to smoke.

accelerated partial-breast irradiation

listen (ak-SEH-leh-ray-ted PAR-shul-brest ih-RAY-dee-AY-shun) A type of radiation therapy given only to the part of the breast that has cancer in it. Accelerated partial-breast irradiation gives a higher dose over a shorter time than is given in standard whole-breast radiation therapy. Accelerated partial-breast irradiation may be given using internal or external sources of radiation. Also called partial-breast irradiation.

accelerated phase chronic myelogenous leukemia

listen (ak-SEH-leh-ray-ted fayz KRAH-nik MY-eh-LAH-jeh-nus loo-KEE-mee-uh) A phase of chronic myelogenous leukemia in which the disease is progressing. In this phase, 10% to 19% of the cells in the blood and bone marrow are blast cells (immature blood cells).

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