Cancer Term Glossary

P-32
A radioactive form of the element phosphorus used in the treatment of cancer.
p-glycoprotein(… GLY-koh-PROH-teen)
A protein that pumps substances out of cells. Cancer cells that have too much p-glycoprotein may not be killed by anticancer drugs.
p-value(... VAL-yoo)
A statistics term. A measure of probability that a difference between groups during an experiment happened by chance. The lower the p-value, the more likely it is that the difference between groups was caused by treatment.
P30 Cancer Center Support Grant(… KAN-ser SEN-ter suh-PORT …)
Funds awarded to certain U.S. institutions by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for them to become cancer centers in the United States, based on scientific merit. The funds help the cancer centers improve the way they are run and develop new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. To receive the award, one goal of the cancer center must be to turn clinical and basic research into better health care. Also called CCSG.
p53 gene
A tumor suppressor gene that normally inhibits the growth of tumors. This gene is altered in many types of cancer.
PA
A health professional who is licensed to do certain medical procedures under the guidance of a doctor. A PA may take medical histories, do physical exams, take blood and urine samples, care for wounds, and give injections and immunizations. Also called physician assistant.
PABA
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Bacteria that live in the intestines need PABA to survive. PABA is found in grains and foods from animals. It is being studied as a radiosensitizer (a substance that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy) and in the treatment of certain skin disorders. Also called aminobenzoic acid and para-aminobenzoic acid.
pacemaker(PAYS-may-ker)
An electronic device that is implanted in the body to monitor heart rate and rhythm. It gives the heart electrical stimulation when it does not beat normally. It runs on batteries and has long, thin wires that connect it to the heart. Also called artificial pacemaker and cardiac pacemaker.
Pacific valerian
A plant whose roots are used as a sedative and to treat certain medical conditions. It is being studied as a way to improve sleep in cancer patients undergoing treatment. Also called garden heliotrope, garden valerian, Indian valerian, Mexican valerian, valerian, Valeriana officinalis, and Valerianae radix.
pack year
A way to measure the amount a person has smoked over a long period of time. It is calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years the person has smoked. For example, 1 pack year is equal to smoking 1 pack per day for 1 year, or 2 packs per day for half a year, and so on.
paclitaxel(PA-klih-TAK-sil)
A drug used to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma. It is also used together with another drug to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Paclitaxel is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks cell growth by stopping cell division and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimitotic agent. Also called Taxol.
paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation(PAK-lih-TAK-sil al-BYOO-min-STAY-bih-lized NA-noh-PAR-tih-kil for-myoo-LAY-shun)
A drug used to treat breast cancer that has spread or that has come back within 6 months after chemotherapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of newly diagnosed breast cancer and other types of cancer. Paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation is a type of mitotic inhibitor. Also called ABI-007, Abraxane, nanoparticle paclitaxel, and protein-bound paclitaxel.
paclitaxel liposome(PA-klih-TAK-sil LY-poh-SOME)
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel that is contained in very tiny, fat-like particles. It may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. Paclitaxel liposome blocks the ability of cells to divide and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called LEP-ETU, liposomal paclitaxel, LipoTaxen, and PNU-93914.
paclitaxel poliglumex(PA-klih-TAK-sil PAH-lee-GLOO-mex)
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel combined with a protein called poliglumex that may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called CT-2103, paclitaxel polyglutamate, and Xyotax.
paclitaxel polyglutamate(PA-klih-TAK-sil PAH-lee-GLOO-tuh-mayt)
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel combined with a protein called poliglumex that may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called mitotic inhibitors. Also called CT-2103, paclitaxel poliglumex, and Xyotax.
paclitaxel-loaded polymeric micelle(PA-klih-TAK-sil-LOH-ded PAH-lih-mer-ik MY-sel)
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel used to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma. It is also used with another drug to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Paclitaxel is mixed with very tiny particles of a substance that makes it easier to dissolve in water. This allows higher doses of paclitaxel to be given. It is a type of antimitotic agent.
Paget disease of bone(PA-jet dih-ZEEZ ...)
A chronic condition in which both the breakdown and regrowth of bone are increased. Paget disease of bone occurs most frequently in the pelvic and leg bones, skull, and lower spine. It is most common in older individuals, and may lead to bone pain, deformities, and fractures. Also called osteitis deformans.
Paget disease of the nipple(PA-jet dih-ZEEZ ...)
A form of breast cancer in which the tumor grows from ducts beneath the nipple onto the surface of the nipple. Symptoms commonly include itching and burning and an eczema-like condition around the nipple, sometimes accompanied by oozing or bleeding.
pain threshold
The point at which a person becomes aware of pain.
PALA
A substance that is being studied for its ability to increase the effectiveness of the anticancer drug fluorouracil.
palate(PAL-et)
The roof of the mouth. The front portion is bony (hard palate), and the back portion is muscular (soft palate).
palatine uvula
The soft flap of tissue that hangs down at the back of the mouth (at the edge of the soft palate). Also called uvula.
palifermin(pal-ee-FER-min)
A form of keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) that is made in the laboratory. KGF stimulates the growth of cells that line the surface of the mouth and intestinal tract. Palifermin is used to prevent and treat oral mucositis (mouth sores) caused by high-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy in leukemia and lymphoma. It is also being studied in the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) in other types of cancer. Palifermin is a type of recombinant human keratinocyte growth factor. Also called Kepivance.
palliation(PA-lee-AY-shun)
Relief of symptoms and suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Palliation helps a patient feel more comfortable and improves the quality of life, but does not cure the disease.
palliative care(PA-lee-uh-tiv...)
Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment of a disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment. Also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.
palliative therapy(PA-lee-uh-tiv THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment given to relieve the symptoms and reduce the suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Palliative cancer therapies are given together with other cancer treatments, from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, survivorship, recurrent or advanced disease, and at the end of life.
palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia(PAL-mer-PLAN-ter eh-RITH-roh-DIS-es-THEE-zhuh)
A condition marked by pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or redness of the hands or feet. It sometimes occurs as a side effect of certain anticancer drugs. Also called hand-foot syndrome.
palonosetron(pal-oh-NOH-seh-tron)
The active ingredient in a drug used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer treatment. Palonosetron is a type of serotonin receptor antagonist and a type of antiemetic.
palonosetron hydrochloride(pal-oh-NOH-seh-tron HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer treatment. It is a type of serotonin receptor antagonist and a type of antiemetic. Also called Aloxi.
palpable disease(PAL-puh-bul dih-ZEEZ)
A term used to describe cancer that can be felt by touch, usually present in lymph nodes, skin, or other organs of the body such as the liver or colon.
palpation(pal-PAY-shun)
Examination by pressing on the surface of the body to feel the organs or tissues underneath.
palpitation(PAL-pih-TAY-shun)
A rapid or irregular heartbeat that a person can feel.
pamidronate
A drug that is used to treat hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood) and cancer that has spread to the bones. It belongs to the family of drugs called bisphosphonates.
panacea
A cure-all.
Pancoast tumor
A type of lung cancer that begins in the upper part of a lung and spreads to nearby tissues such as the ribs and vertebrae. Most Pancoast tumors are non-small cell cancers. Also called pulmonary sulcus tumor.
pancreas(PAN-kree-us)
A glandular organ located in the abdomen. It makes pancreatic juices, which contain enzymes that aid in digestion, and it produces several hormones, including insulin. The pancreas is surrounded by the stomach, intestines, and other organs.
pancreatectomy(PAN-kree-uh-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove all or part of the pancreas. In a total pancreatectomy, part of the stomach, part of the small intestine, the common bile duct, gallbladder, spleen, and nearby lymph nodes also are removed.
pancreatic
Having to do with the pancreas.
pancreatic cancer(pan-kree-AT-ic KAN-ser)
A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the pancreas. Also called exocrine cancer.
pancreatic duct(PAN-kree-A-tik dukt)
Part of a system of ducts in the pancreas. Pancreatic juices containing enzymes are released into these ducts and flow into the small intestine.
pancreatic endocrine cancer(PAN-kree-A-tik EN-doh-krin KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in the islets of Langerhans cells (a type of cell found in the pancreas). Also called islet cell carcinoma.
pancreatic enzyme(PAN-kree-A-tik EN-zime)
A protein secreted by the pancreas that aids in the digestion of food.
pancreatic juice(PAN-kree-A-tik joos)
Fluid made by the pancreas. Pancreatic juices contain proteins called enzymes that aid in digestion.
pancreatitis
Inflammation of the pancreas. Chronic pancreatitis may cause diabetes and problems with digestion. Pain is the primary symptom.
panic(PA-nik)
Sudden extreme anxiety or fear that may cause irrational thoughts or actions. Panic may include rapid heart rate, flushing (a hot, red face), sweating, and trouble breathing.
panitumumab(pan-ih-tuh-MYOO-mab)
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. Panitumumab binds to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and may block tumor cell growth. Also called ABX-EGF and Vectibix.
panobinostat(PA-noh-BIH-noh-stat)
A drug being studied in the treatment of cancer. It blocks enzymes needed for cells to grow and divide and may kill cancer cells. Panobinostat may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of histone deacetylase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called Faridak and LBH589.
pantothenic acid(PAN-toh-THEH-nik A-sid)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Pantothenic acid helps some enzymes use foods and make many substances used in the body and protects cells against damage from peroxides. It is found in almost all plant and animal foods. Pantothenic acid is water-soluble (can dissolve in water) and must be taken in every day. Also called vitamin B5.
PANVAC-V
A cancer vaccine made with a form of vaccinia virus that does not cause disease in humans. It is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. The virus is changed in the laboratory to make human proteins, including the tumor markers called CEA and MUC-1, that may help immune cells in the body kill tumor cells. Also called inalimarev and recombinant vaccinia-CEA-MUC-1-TRICOM vaccine.
PAP
An enzyme produced by the prostate. It may be found in increased amounts in men who have prostate cancer. Also called prostatic acid phosphatase.
Pap smear
A procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix for examination under a microscope. It is used to detect cancer and changes that may lead to cancer. A Pap smear can also show conditions, such as infection or inflammation, that are not cancer. Also called Pap test and Papanicolaou test.
Pap test
A procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix for examination under a microscope. It is used to detect cancer and changes that may lead to cancer. A Pap test can also show conditions, such as infection or inflammation, that are not cancer. Also called Pap smear and Papanicolaou test.
Papanicolaou test(PA-puh-NIH-koh-low...)
A procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix for examination under a microscope. It is used to detect cancer and changes that may lead to cancer. A Papanicolaou test can also show conditions, such as infection or inflammation, that are not cancer. Also called Pap smear and Pap test.
papillary dermis(PA-pih-LAYR-ee DER-mis)
The thin top layer of the dermis (the inner layer of the skin). The papillary dermis has connective tissue and blood vessels that give nutrients to the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) and that help control the temperature of the skin.
papillary serous carcinoma(PA-pih-LAYR-ee SEER-us KAR-sih-NOH-muh)
An aggressive cancer that usually affects the uterus/endometrium, peritoneum, or ovary.
papillary thyroid cancer(PA-pih-LAYR-ee THY-royd KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in follicular cells in the thyroid and grows in small finger-like shapes. It grows slowly, is more common in women than in men, and often occurs before age 45. It is the most common type of thyroid cancer.
papillary tumor(PA-pih-LAYR-ee TOO-mer)
A tumor shaped like a small mushroom, with its stem attached to the epithelial layer (inner lining) of an organ.
papillary-reticular dermal interface(PA-pih-LAYR-ee- reh-TIH-kyoo-ler DER-mul IN-ter-fays)
The layer of the skin between the papillary dermis (the thin top layer of the dermis) and the reticular dermis (the thick bottom layer of the dermis). The dermis is the layer of skin below the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin).
papilledema(PA-pil-eh-DEE-muh)
Swelling around the optic disk, the area where the optic nerve (the nerve that carries messages from the eye to the brain) enters the eyeball. Papilledema occurs when increased brain pressure caused by tumors or other problems results in swelling of the optic nerve.
PAR-101
A substance being studied in the treatment of diarrhea caused by infection with Clostridium difficile (a type of bacteria that can grow without oxygen) in cancer patients. PAR-101 is a type of antibiotic. Also called OPT-80 and tiacumicin B.
para-aminobenzoic acid(PAYR-uh-uh-MEE-noh-ben-ZOH-ik A-sid)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Bacteria that live in the intestines need para-aminobenzoic acid to survive. Para-aminobenzoic acid is found in grains and foods from animals. It is being studied as a radiosensitizer (a substance that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy) and in the treatment of certain skin disorders. Also called aminobenzoic acid and PABA.
paracentesis(PAYR-uh-sen-TEE-siss)
A procedure in which a thin needle or tube is put into the abdomen to remove fluid from the peritoneal cavity (the space within the abdomen that contains the intestines, the stomach, and the liver).
paraganglia(PAYR-uh-GANG-glee-uh)
A collection of cells that came from embryonic nervous tissue, and are found near the adrenal glands and some blood vessels and nerves. Most paraganglia secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine.
paraganglioma(PAYR-uh-GANG-glee-OH-muh)
A rare, usually benign tumor that develops from cells of the paraganglia. Paraganglia are a collection of cells that came from embryonic nervous tissue, and are found near the adrenal glands and some blood vessels and nerves. Paragangliomas that develop in the adrenal gland are called pheochromocytomas. Those that develop outside of the adrenal glands near blood vessels or nerves are called glomus tumors or chemodectomas.
parageusia
A bad taste in the mouth. Also called dysgeusia.
paralysis(puh-RAL-ih-siss)
Loss of ability to move all or part of the body.
paralytic ileus(PA-ruh-LIH-tic IH-lee-us)
A condition in which the muscles of the intestines do not allow food to pass through, resulting in a blocked intestine. Paralytic ileus may be caused by surgery, inflammation, and certain drugs.
paramyxovirus(pa-ruh-MIK-suh-VY-rus)
A type of virus that has hemagglutinin-neuraminidase proteins in the outer coat and RNA as the genetic material. Measles (rubeola) virus, mumps virus, and Newcastle disease virus are paramyxoviruses.
paranasal sinus(PAYR-uh-NAY-zul SY-nus)
One of many small hollow spaces in the bones around the nose. Paranasal sinuses are named after the bones that contain them: frontal (the lower forehead), maxillary (cheekbones), ethmoid (beside the upper nose), and sphenoid (behind the nose). The paranasal sinuses open into the nasal cavity (space inside the nose) and are lined with cells that make mucus to keep the nose from drying out during breathing.
paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer(PAYR-uh-NAY-zul SY-nus ... NAY-zul KA-vuh-tee KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the paranasal sinuses (small hollow spaces in the bones around the nose) or nasal cavity (the inside of the nose). The most common type of paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in flat cells lining these tissues and cavities).
paraneoplastic syndrome(PAYR-uh-NEE-oh-PLAS-tik SIN-drome)
A group of symptoms that may develop when substances released by some cancer cells disrupt the normal function of surrounding cells and tissue.
paranoia(PAYR-uh-noy-uh)
A mental disorder in which a person has an extreme fear and distrust of others. A paranoid person may have delusions that people are trying to harm him or her.
Paraplatin(PAYR-uh-pla-tin)
A drug that is used to treat advanced ovarian cancer that has never been treated or symptoms of ovarian cancer that has come back after treatment with other anticancer drugs. It is also used together with other drugs to treat advanced, metastatic, or recurrent non-small cell lung cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Paraplatin is a form of the anticancer drug cisplatin and causes fewer side effects in patients. It attaches to DNA in cells and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of platinum compound. Also called carboplatin.
parasite(PAYR-uh-SITE)
An animal or plant that gets nutrients by living on or in an organism of another species. A complete parasite gets all of its nutrients from the host organism, but a semi-parasite gets only some of its nutrients from the host.
parasitic(PAYR-uh-SIH-tik)
Having to do with or being a parasite (an animal or plant that gets nutrients by living on or in an organism of another species).
parasomnia(PAYR-uh-SOM-nee-ah)
An abnormal disruption of sleep, such as sleep walking, sleep talking, nightmares, bedwetting, sleep apnea (problems with breathing that cause loud snoring), or nighttime seizures.
parasympathetic nervous system(PA-ruh-SIM-puh-THEH-tik NER-vus SIS-tem)
The part of the nervous system that slows the heart, dilates blood vessels, decreases pupil size, increases digestive juices, and relaxes muscles in the gastrointestinal tract.
parathormone(PAYR-uh-THOR-mone)
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. A higher-than-normal amount of parathormone causes high levels of calcium in the blood and may be a sign of disease. Also called parathyrin, parathyroid hormone, and PTH.
parathyrin(PAYR-uh-THY-rin)
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. A higher-than-normal amount of parathyrin causes high levels of calcium in the blood and may be a sign of disease. Also called parathormone, parathyroid hormone, and PTH.
parathyroid cancer(PAYR-uh-THY-royd KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in tissues of one or more of the parathyroid glands (four pea-sized glands in the neck that make parathyroid hormone, which helps the body store and use calcium).
parathyroid gland(PAYR-uh-THY-royd...)
One of four pea-sized glands found on the surface of the thyroid. The parathyroid hormone made by these glands increases the calcium level in the blood.
parathyroid hormone(PAYR-uh-THY-royd HOR-mone)
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. A higher-than-normal amount of parathyroid hormone causes high levels of calcium in the blood and may be a sign of disease. Also called parathormone, parathyrin, and PTH.
parathyroidectomy(PAYR-uh-THY-roy-DEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove one or more parathyroid glands (four pea-sized organs found on the thyroid).
parenchyma(puh-REN-kih-muh)
The essential or functional elements of an organ.
parenteral nutrition(puh-REN-teh-rul noo-TRIH-shun)
A form of nutrition that is delivered into a vein. Parenteral nutrition does not use the digestive system. It may be given to people who are unable to absorb nutrients through the intestinal tract because of vomiting that won't stop, severe diarrhea, or intestinal disease. It may also be given to those undergoing high-dose chemotherapy or radiation and bone marrow transplantation. It is possible to give all of the protein, calories, vitamins and minerals a person needs using parenteral nutrition. Also called hyperalimentation, total parenteral nutrition, and TPN.
paresthesia(par-es-THEE-zhuh)
An abnormal touch sensation, such as burning or prickling, that occurs without an outside stimulus.
paricalcitol(par-i-KAL-si-tol)
A substance that is being used to treat overactive parathyroid glands in patients with kidney failure. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. Paricalcitol belongs to the family of drugs called vitamin D analogs.
parietal pericardium
The outer layer of the pericardium, which is a thin sac of tissue that surrounds the heart.
parietal peritoneum(puh-RY-uh-tul PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-um)
The layers of tissue that line the abdominal wall and the pelvic cavity.
Parkinson disease(PAR-kin-sun dih-ZEEZ)
A progressive disorder of the nervous system marked by muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, decreased mobility, stooped posture, slow voluntary movements, and a mask-like facial expression.
parotid gland cancer(puh-RAH-tid ...)
Cancer that forms in a parotid gland, the largest of the salivary glands, which make saliva and release it into the mouth. There are 2 parotid glands, one in front of and just below each ear. Most salivary gland tumors begin in parotid glands.
parotidectomy(pa-RAH-tih-DEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove all or part of the parotid gland (a large salivary gland located in front of and just below the ear). In a radical parotidectomy, the entire gland is removed.
paroxetine hydrochloride(puh-ROX-uh-teen HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. It is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Also called Paxil.
paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria(puh-rahk-SIZ-mul nok-TUR-nul HEE-moh-gloh-bih-NOO-ree-uh)
A rare disorder in which red blood cells are easily destroyed by certain immune system proteins. Symptoms include blood clots, and red or brownish urine in the morning. Aplastic anemia (decreased production of blood cells) may lead to PNH, and people with PNH are at increased risk of acute myelogenous leukemia. Also called PNH.
PARP
A type of 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. Inhibitors of one enzyme, PARP-1, are being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase.
PARP inhibitor(... in-HIH-bih-ter)
A substance that 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. It may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of targeted therapy. Also called poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor.
PARP inhibitor AZD2281(... in-HIH-bih-ter ...)
A substance being studied in the treatment of breast, ovarian, and prostate 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. PARP inhibitor AZD2281 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of targeted therapy and a type of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called AZD2281 and olaparib.
PARP-1
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. Inhibitors of PARP-1 are being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1.
PARP-1 inhibitor ABT-888(… in-HIH-bih-ter…)
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. PARP-1 inhibitor ABT-888 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called ABT-888.
PARP-1 inhibitor AG014699(… in-HIH-bih-ter …)
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. PARP-1 inhibitor AG014699 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called AG014699.
PARP-1 inhibitor BSI-201(… in-HIH-bih-ter…)
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. PARP-1 inhibitor BSI-201 may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called BSI-201.
partial cystectomy(PAR-shul sis-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part of the bladder (the organ that holds urine). Also called segmental cystectomy.
partial hysterectomy(PAR-shul HIS-teh-REK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the uterus, but not the cervix. Also called subtotal hysterectomy.
partial laryngectomy(PAR-shul LA-rin-JEK-toh-mee)
An operation to remove part of the larynx (voice box).
partial mastectomy(PAR-shul ma-STEK-toh-mee)
The removal of cancer as well as some of the breast tissue around the tumor and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor. Usually some of the lymph nodes under the arm are also taken out. Also called segmental mastectomy.
partial nephrectomy(PAR-shul neh-FREK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part of one kidney or a kidney tumor, but not an entire kidney.
partial oophorectomy(PAR-shul oh-oh-foh-REK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part of one ovary or part of both ovaries.
partial radical vulvectomy(PAR-shul RA-dih-kul vul-VEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove most, but not all, of the vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips, and the opening to the vagina). The clitoris may not be removed. Sometimes lymph nodes in the groin area are also removed. Also called modified radical vulvectomy.
partial remission
A decrease in the size of a tumor, or in the extent of cancer in the body, in response to treatment. Also called partial response.
partial response(PAR-shul reh-SPONTS)
A decrease in the size of a tumor, or in the extent of cancer in the body, in response to treatment. Also called partial remission.
partial vulvectomy(PAR-shul vul-VEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove an affected area of the vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips, and the opening to the vagina) along with a small amount of surrounding normal tissue.
passive antibody therapy(...AN-tee-BAH-dee THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment with injections of antibodies made in another animal or in the laboratory.
pastoral counselor(PAS-tuh-rul KOWN-suh-ler)
A person who is trained to give spiritual and mental health advice.
patchouli(puh-CHOO-lee)
A bushy herb that is a member of the mint family. A strong-smelling oil taken from the leaves is used in perfumes, incense, detergents, and hair conditioners. It has been used in some cultures to prevent disease. The scientific name is Pogostemon cablin
Paterson-Kelly syndrome
A disorder marked by anemia caused by iron deficiency, and a web-like growth of membranes in the throat that makes swallowing difficult. Having Paterson-Kelly syndrome may increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Also called Plummer-Vinson syndrome and sideropenic dysphagia.
pathognomonic(PATH-og-NOH-mah-nik)
Having to do with a sign or symptom that is specific to a certain disease.
pathologic fracture(PA-thuh-LAH-jik FRAK-sher)
A broken bone caused by disease, often by the spread of cancer to the bone.
pathological staging(PA-thuh-LAH-jih-kul STAY-jing)
A method used to determine the stage of cancer. Tissue samples are removed during surgery or a biopsy. The stage is determined based on how the cells in the samples look under a microscope.
pathologist(puh-THAH-loh-jist)
A doctor who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.
pathology report(puh-THAH-loh-jee ...)
The description of cells and tissues made by a pathologist based on microscopic evidence, and sometimes used to make a diagnosis of a disease.
patient advocate
A person who helps a patient work with others who have an effect on the patient's health, including doctors, insurance companies, employers, case managers, and lawyers. A patient advocate helps resolve issues about health care, medical bills, and job discrimination related to a patient's medical condition. Cancer advocacy groups try to raise public awareness about important cancer issues, such as the need for cancer support services, education, and research. Such groups work to bring about change that will help cancer patients and their families.
patient-controlled analgesia(...AN-ul-JEE-zee-uh)
A method of pain relief in which the patient controls the amount of pain medicine that is used. When pain relief is needed, the person can receive a preset dose of pain medicine by pressing a button on a computerized pump that is connected to a small tube in the body. Also called PCA.
Paxil(PAK-sil)
A drug used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. It is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Also called paroxetine hydrochloride.
pazopanib(puz-OH-puh-nib)
A drug that is used to treat kidney cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called GW786034, pazopanib hydrochloride, and Votrient.
pazopanib hydrochloride(puz-OH-puh-nib HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug that is used to treat kidney cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called GW786034, pazopanib, and Votrient.
PC-SPES
A mixture of eight herbs that has been sold as a dietary supplement and promoted as a way to keep the prostate healthy and to treat prostate cancer. PC-SPES has been studied in the treatment of prostate cancer, but has been taken off the market in the U.S. because of safety concerns.
PCA
A method of pain relief in which the patient controls the amount of pain medicine that is used. When pain relief is needed, the person can receive a preset dose of pain medicine by pressing a button on a computerized pump that is connected to a small tube in the body. Also called patient-controlled analgesia.
PCNSL
Primary CNS lymphoma. Cancer that forms in the lymph tissue of the brain, spinal cord, meninges (outer covering of the brain), or eye (called ocular lymphoma). Also called primary central nervous system lymphoma and primary CNS lymphoma.
PCOS
A condition marked by infertility, enlarged ovaries, menstrual problems, high levels of male hormones, excess hair on the face and body, acne, and obesity. Women with PCOS have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and endometrial cancer. Also called polycystic ovary syndrome.
PCR
A laboratory method used to make many copies of a specific DNA sequence. Also called polymerase chain reaction.
PDGF
A family of molecules released from platelets (tiny pieces of cells that are found in the blood and that help the blood clot). Forms of PDGF help to heal wounds and to repair damage to blood vessel walls. They also help blood vessels grow. Also called platelet-derived growth factor.
PDQ
PDQ is an online database developed and maintained by the National Cancer Institute. Designed to make the most current, credible, and accurate cancer information available to health professionals and the public, PDQ contains peer-reviewed summaries on cancer treatment, screening, prevention, genetics, complementary and alternative medicine, and supportive care; a registry of cancer clinical trials from around the world; and directories of physicians, professionals who provide genetics services, and organizations that provide cancer care. Most of this information, and more specific information about PDQ, can be found on the NCI's Web site at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq. Also called Physician Data Query.
peak exposure(PEEK ek-SPOH-zher)
The largest amount of a substance or radiation that a person is exposed to at one time. Peak exposure to a harmful substance or radiation may increase the risk of certain diseases or conditions.
peau d'orange
A dimpled condition of the skin of the breast, resembling the skin of an orange, sometimes found in inflammatory breast cancer.
pediatric(pee-dee-A-trik)
Having to do with children.
pediatric hematologist(PEE-dee-A-trik HEE-muh-TAH-loh-jist)
A doctor who specializes in treating blood disorders in children.
pediatric nurse specialist(pee-dee-A-trik ... SPEH-shuh-list)
A registered nurse with an advanced degree in nursing who specializes in the care of children.
pediatric surgeon
A surgeon who specializes in the treatment of children. A surgeon removes or repairs a part of the body by operating on the patient.
pedigree(PEH-dih-gree)
A diagram that shows relationships among family members. In medicine, a pedigree may also show the pattern of certain genes or diseases within a family.
pedunculated(peh-DUN-kyoo-LAY-ted)
In the body, a structure that has a peduncle (a stalk or stem) or is attached to another structure by a peduncle.
peer review process
The process by which original articles and grants written by researchers are evaluated for technical and scientific quality and correctness by other experts in the same field.
peer-reviewed scientific journal
A publication that contains original articles that have been written by scientists and evaluated for technical and scientific quality and correctness by other experts in the same field.
PEG
A polymer made by joining molecules of ethylene oxide and water together in a repeating pattern. PEG can be a liquid or a waxy solid. In medicine, forms of PEG can be used in ointments, in drugs or substances to make them stay in the body longer, or in laxatives. Also called polyethylene glycol.
PEG tube(…toob)
A tube inserted through the wall of the abdomen directly into the stomach. It allows air and fluid to leave the stomach and can be used to give drugs and liquids, including liquid food, to the patient. Giving food through a PEG tube is a type of enteral nutrition. Also called gastrostomy tube and percutaneous endoscopic tube.
PEG-asparaginase(...as-PA-ruh-jih-NAYZ)
A drug used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It is a form of the drug asparaginase that is linked to a substance called PEG, which makes the drug stay in the body longer. Asparaginase is an enzyme that breaks down the amino acid asparagine and may block the growth of tumor cells that need asparagine to grow. It is a type of protein synthesis inhibitor. Also called Oncaspar and pegaspargase.
PEG-interferon alfa-2a(peg-IN-ter-FEER-on AL-fuh ...)
A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is a cytokine that is modified in the laboratory. It is a type of biological response modifier. Also called Pegasys.
PEG-interferon alfa-2b(peg-IN-ter-FEER-on AL-fuh ...)
A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is a cytokine that is modified in the laboratory. It is a type of biological response modifier. Also called PEG-Intron and SCH 54031.
PEG-Intron
A drug that is used to treat hepatitis C infections. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. PEG-Intron is a cytokine that is modified in the laboratory. It is a type of biological response modifier. Also called PEG-interferon alfa-2b and SCH 54031.
PEG-MGDF
A form of megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF) that is made in the laboratory. MGDF comes from the protein thrombopoietin, which is normally made in the body to help make platelets. PEG-MGDF is being studied as a way to increase the number of platelets in patients receiving chemotherapy. Also called PEG-rhMGDF and polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor.
PEG-rhMGDF
A form of megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF) that is made in the laboratory. MGDF comes from the protein thrombopoietin, which is normally made in the body to help make platelets. PEG-rhMGDF is being studied as a way to increase the number of platelets in patients receiving chemotherapy. Also called PEG-MGDF and polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor.
pegaspargase(peg-A-spar-jayz)
A drug used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It is a form of the drug asparaginase that is linked to a substance called PEG, which makes the drug stay in the body longer. Asparaginase is an enzyme that breaks down the amino acid asparagine and may block the growth of tumor cells that need asparagine to grow. It is a type of protein synthesis inhibitor. Also called Oncaspar and PEG-asparaginase.
Pegasys(PEH-guh-sis)
A drug used to treat hepatitis C infections. It is also being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is a cytokine that is modified in the laboratory. It is a type of biological response modifier. Also called PEG-interferon alfa-2a.
pegfilgrastim(peg-fil-GRAS-tim)
A drug used to increase numbers of white blood cells in patients who are receiving chemotherapy. It is a type of colony-stimulating factor. Also called filgrastim-SD/01 and Neulasta.
pegylated arginine deiminase(PEH-guh-LAYT-ed AR-jih-neen DEE-IM-ih-nayz)
A substance being studied in the treatment of melanoma, liver cancer, and other types of cancer. It breaks down the amino acid arginine and may block the growth of cancer cells that need arginine to grow. It is a type of iminohydrolase. Also called ADI-PEG 20.
PEI
An injection of ethanol (alcohol) through the skin directly into a tumor to kill cancer cells. Ultrasound or a CT scan is used to guide the needle into the tumor. Also called alcohol ablation, ethanol ablation, and percutaneous ethanol injection.
PEITC
A substance being studied in the prevention of cancer. It is a naturally occurring compound found in some cruciferous vegetables. Also called phenethyl isothiocyanate.
pelargonium(PEH-lar-GOH-nee-um)
A type of plant that is native to southern Africa and has white, pink, purple, or red flowers and 3- to 5-lobed leaves. An essential oil that smells like roses is taken from the leaves and used in perfume, in mosquito repellants, and in aromatherapy to treat skin problems and to reduce stress. The scientific name is Pelargonium graveolens. Also called geranium.
peldesine
A substance that is being studied for the treatment of cancer.
pelvic
Having to do with the pelvis (the lower part of the abdomen located between the hip bones).
pelvic examination(PEL-vik eg-ZA-mih-NAY-shun)
A physical examination in which the health care professional will feel for lumps or changes in the shape of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum. The health care professional will also use a speculum to open the vagina to look at the cervix and take samples for a Pap test. Also called internal examination.
pelvic exenteration
Surgery to remove the lower colon, rectum, and bladder, and create stomata (openings) through which urine and stool are passed out of the body. In women, the cervix, vagina, ovaries, and nearby lymph nodes are also removed.
pelvic lymphadenectomy(PEL-vik LIM-fa-deh-NEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove lymph nodes in the pelvis for examination under a microscope to see if they contain cancer.
pelvic wall
The muscles and ligaments that line the part of the body between the hips.
pelvis(PEL-vus)
The lower part of the abdomen, located between the hip bones.
pemetrexed disodium(pem-eh-TREX-ed dy-SOH-dee-um)
A drug used alone or with another drug to treat certain types of non-small cell lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pemetrexed disodium blocks DNA synthesis and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of folate antagonist. Also called Alimta and LY231514.
penclomedine
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.
penectomy(pee-NEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part or all of the penis (an external male reproductive organ).
penetrance
A characteristic of a genotype; it refers to the likelihood that a clinical condition will occur when a particular genotype is present.
penicillamine
A drug that removes copper from the body and is used to treat diseases in which there is an excess of copper. It is also being studied as a possible angiogenesis inhibitor in the treatment of brain tumors.
penicillin
A drug that is used to treat infection. It belongs to the family of drugs called antibiotics.
penile cancer(PEE-nile KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in the penis (an external male reproductive organ). Most penile cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in flat cells lining the penis).
penile implant(PEE-nile...)
A firm rod or inflatable device that is placed in the penis (an external male reproductive organ) during a surgical procedure. The implant makes it possible to have and keep an erection. Penile implants are used to treat erectile dysfunction or impotence.
penis(PEE-nis)
An external male reproductive organ. It contains a tube called the urethra, which carries semen and urine to the outside of the body.
Pentam(PEN-tam)
A drug used to treat infections caused by certain microorganisms. It is also being studied in the treatment of melanoma. It prevents DNA from being copied and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antifungal agent, a type of antiprotozoal agent, and a type of PRL phosphatase inhibitor. Also called pentamidine isethionate.
pentamidine(pen-TA-mih-deen)
The active ingredient in a drug used to treat infections caused by certain microorganisms. It is also being studied in the treatment of melanoma. It prevents DNA from being copied and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antifungal agent, a type of antiprotozoal agent, and a type of PRL phosphatase inhibitor.
pentamidine isethionate(pen-TA-mih-deen I-seh-THY-oh-nayt)
A drug used to treat infections caused by certain microorganisms. It is also being studied in the treatment of melanoma. It prevents DNA from being copied and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antifungal agent, a type of antiprotozoal agent, and a type of PRL phosphatase inhibitor. Also called Pentam.
pentetic acid calcium(pen-TET-ik A-sid KAL-see-um)
A drug that protects healthy tissues from the toxic effects of anticancer drugs.
pentosan polysulfate(PEN-tuh-SAN PAH-lee-SUL-fayt)
A drug used to relieve pain or discomfort associated with chronic inflammation of the bladder. It is also being evaluated for its protective effects on the gastrointestinal tract in people undergoing radiation therapy.
pentostatin(PEN-toh-STA-tin)
The active ingredient in a drug that is used to treat hairy cell leukemia and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pentostatin blocks a protein needed for cell growth and may kill cancer cells. It is made by a bacterium. It is a type of adenosine deaminase inhibitor. Also called Nipent.
pentoxifylline
A drug used to prevent blood clotting and as a treatment that may help decrease weight loss in people with cancer.
peptic ulcer(PEP-tik UL-ser)
A break in the lining of the lower part of the esophagus, the stomach, or the upper part of the small intestine. Peptic ulcers form when cells on the surface of the lining become inflamed and die. They are usually caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria and by certain medicines, such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Peptic ulcers may be linked to cancer and other diseases.
peptide(PEP-tide)
A molecule that contains two or more amino acids (the molecules that join together to form proteins). Peptides that contain many amino acids are called polypeptides or proteins.
peptide 946(PEP-tide …)
A piece of a protein found only on melanoma (a type of skin cancer) cells. It is being used in vaccines to help the immune system kill melanoma cells.
percutaneous(per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us)
Passing through the skin, as an injection or a topical medicine.
percutaneous endoscopic tube(per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us en-doh-SKAH-pik gas-TROS-toh-mee toob)
A tube inserted through the wall of the abdomen directly into the stomach. It allows air and fluid to leave the stomach and can be used to give drugs and liquids, including liquid food, to the patient. Giving food through a percutaneous endoscopic tube is a type of enteral nutrition. Also called gastrostomy tube and PEG tube.
percutaneous ethanol injection(per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us EH-thuh-nol in-JEK-shun)
An injection of ethanol (alcohol) through the skin directly into a tumor to kill cancer cells. Ultrasound or a CT scan is used to guide the needle into the tumor. Also called alcohol ablation, ethanol ablation, and PEI.
percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage(per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us TRANZ-heh-PA-tik BIH-lee-ayr-ee DRAY-nij)
A procedure to drain bile to relieve pressure in the bile ducts caused by a blockage. An x-ray of the liver and bile ducts locates the blockage of bile flow. Images made by ultrasound guide placement of a stent (tube), which remains in the liver. Bile drains through the stent into the small intestine or into a collection bag outside the body. This procedure may relieve jaundice before surgery. Also called percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage and PTCD.
percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage(per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us TRANZ-heh-PA-tik koh-lan-jee-oh-DRAY-nij)
A procedure to drain bile to relieve pressure in the bile ducts caused by a blockage. An x-ray of the liver and bile ducts locates the blockage of bile flow. Images made by ultrasound guide placement of a stent (tube), which remains in the liver. Bile drains through the stent into the small intestine or into a collection bag outside the body. This procedure may relieve jaundice before surgery. Also called percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage and PTCD.
percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography(per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us TRANZ-heh-PA-tik koh-lan-jee-AH-gruh-fee)
A procedure to x-ray the hepatic and common bile ducts. A contrasting agent is injected through the skin into the liver or bile duct, and the ducts are then x-rayed to find the point of obstruction. Also called PTC.
performance status
A measure of how well a patient is able to perform ordinary tasks and carry out daily activities.
perfusion(per-FYOO-zhun)
Bathing an organ or tissue with a fluid. In regional perfusion, a specific area of the body (usually an arm or a leg) receives high doses of anticancer drugs through a blood vessel. Such a procedure is performed to treat cancer that has not spread.
perfusion magnetic resonance imaging(per-FYOO-zhun mag-NEH-tik REH-zoh-nants IH-muh-jing)
A special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that uses an injected dye in order to see blood flow through tissues. Also called magnetic resonance perfusion imaging.
periampullary cancer(PAYR-ee-AM-puh-LAYR-ee KAN-ser)
A cancer that forms near the ampulla of Vater (an enlargement of the ducts from the liver and pancreas where they join and enter the small intestine).
pericardial effusion
An abnormal collection of fluid inside the sac that covers the heart.
perifosine
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylphospholipids.
perillyl alcohol
A substance that is being studied in the prevention of cancer. It belongs to the family of plant drugs called monoterpenes.
perimenopausal(PAYR-ih-MEH-nuh-PAW-zul)
Describes the time in a woman’s life when menstrual periods become irregular as she approaches menopause. This is usually three to five years before menopause and is often marked by many of the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating, and infertility.
perineal colostomy(PAYR-uh-NEE-ul koh-LOS-toh-mee)
An opening made surgically to allow the colon to exit the body through the perineum (the area of the body between the anus and the vulva in females, and between the anus and the scrotum in males). A colostomy provides a new path for waste material to leave the body after part of the colon has been removed.
perineal prostatectomy(PAYR-uh-NEE-ul PROS-tuh-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the prostate through an incision made between the scrotum and the anus.
perineum
The area of the body between the anus and the vulva in females, and between the anus and the scrotum in males.
perineural(pear-ih-NOOR-al)
Around a nerve or group of nerves.
periodic neutropenia(PEER-ee-AH-dik noo-troh-PEE-nee-uh)
A chronic condition that affects neutrophils (a type of white blood cell). In periodic neutropenia, the number of neutrophils in the blood goes in cycles from normal to low and back to normal again. Symptoms include fever, inflamed mucous membranes in the mouth, and infections. Also called cyclic neutropenia.
perioperative(PER-ee-AH-pruh-tiv)
Around the time of surgery. This usually lasts from the time the patient goes into the hospital or doctor's office for surgery until the time the patient goes home.
peripheral blood(peh-RIH-feh-rul blud)
Blood circulating throughout the body.
peripheral blood lymphocyte therapy(peh-RIH-feh-rul blud LIM-foh-site THAYR-uh-pee)
A treatment for Epstein-Barr virus infection or overgrowth of white blood cells (lymphocytes) after an organ or bone marrow transplant. Specific lymphocytes from a sibling donor are infused into the patient to try and reverse these conditions.
peripheral blood smear(peh-RIH-feh-rul blud smeer)
A procedure in which a sample of blood is viewed under a microscope to count different circulating blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, etc.) and see whether the cells look normal.
peripheral neuropathy(peh-RIH-feh-rul noo-ROP-uh-thee)
A nerve problem that causes pain, numbness, tingling, swelling, or muscle weakness in different parts of the body. It usually begins in the hands or feet and gets worse over time. Peripheral neuropathy may be caused by physical injury, infection, toxic substances, disease (such as cancer, diabetes, kidney failure, or malnutrition), or drugs, including anticancer drugs. Also called neuropathy.
peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor(peh-RIH-feh-rul PRI-mih-tiv NOOR-oh-EK-toh-DER-mul TOO-mer)
A type of cancer that forms in bone or soft tissue. Also called Ewing sarcoma and pPNET.
peripheral stem cell(peh-RIH-feh-rul stem sel)
An immature cell found circulating in the bloodstream. New blood cells develop from peripheral stem cells.
peripheral stem cell support(peh-RIH-feh-rul stem sel …)
A method of replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by cancer treatment. Immature blood cells (stem cells) in the circulating blood that are similar to those in the bone marrow are given to the patient after treatment. This helps the bone marrow recover and continue producing healthy blood cells. Transplantation may be autologous (an individual's own blood cells saved earlier), allogeneic (blood cells donated by someone else), or syngeneic (blood cells donated by an identical twin). Also called peripheral stem cell transplantation.
peripheral stem cell transplantation(peh-RIH-feh-rul stem sel tranz-plan-TAY-shun)
A method of replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by cancer treatment. Immature blood cells (stem cells) in the circulating blood that are similar to those in the bone marrow are given to the patient after treatment. This helps the bone marrow recover and continue producing healthy blood cells. Transplantation may be autologous (an individual's own blood cells saved earlier), allogeneic (blood cells donated by someone else), or syngeneic (blood cells donated by an identical twin). Also called peripheral stem cell support.
peripheral T-cell lymphoma(peh-RIH-feh-rul ... lim-FOH-muh)
One of a group of aggressive (fast-growing) non-Hodgkin lymphomas that begins in mature T lymphocytes (T cells that have matured in the thymus gland and goes to other lymphatic sites in the body, including lymph nodes, bone marrow, and spleen.) Also called mature T-cell lymphoma.
peripheral venous catheter(peh-RIH-feh-rul VEE-nus KA-theh-ter)
A small, flexible tube used to deliver fluids into the body. A needle is used to insert the catheter into a vein, usually in the back of the hand or in the forearm. The tubing is then taped to the skin to hold it in place.
peristalsis(pair-ih-STAL-sis)
The rippling motion of muscles in the intestine or other tubular organs characterized by the alternate contraction and relaxation of the muscles that propel the contents onward.
peritoneal(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul)
Having to do with the parietal peritoneum (the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and pelvic cavity) and visceral peritoneum (the tissue that covers most of the organs in the abdomen, including the intestines).
peritoneal cancer(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul KAN-ser)
Cancer of the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers organs in the abdomen.
peritoneal cavity(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul KA-vuh-tee)
The space within the abdomen that contains the intestines, the stomach, and the liver. It is bound by thin membranes.
peritoneal fluid(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul FLOO-id)
A liquid that is made in the abdominal cavity to lubricate the surface of the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and pelvic cavity and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.
peritoneal infusion(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul in-FYOO-zhun)
A method of delivering fluids and drugs directly into the abdominal cavity through a thin tube. Also called intraperitoneal infusion.
peritoneal perfusion(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul per-FYOO-zhun)
A method of delivering fluids and drugs directly to tumors in the peritoneal cavity.
peritoneum(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-um)
The tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.
peritonitis
Inflammation of the peritoneum (tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen). Peritonitis can result from infection, injury, or certain diseases. Symptoms may include swelling of the abdomen, severe pain, and weight loss.
pernicious anemia(per-NIH-shush uh-NEE-mee-uh)
A type of anemia (low red blood cell count) caused by the body's inability to absorb vitamin B12.
personal health record(PER-suh-nul ...)
A collection of information about a person’s health. It may include information about allergies, illnesses and surgeries, and dates and results of physical exams, tests, screenings, and immunizations. It may also include information about medicines taken and about diet and exercise. Also called personal history and personal medical history.
personal history(PER-suh-nul HIH-stuh-ree)
A collection of information about a person’s health. It may include information about allergies, illnesses and surgeries, and dates and results of physical exams, tests, screenings, and immunizations. It may also include information about medicines taken and about diet and exercise. Also called personal health record and personal medical history.
personal medical history(PER-suh-nul MEH-dih-kul HIH-stuh-ree)
A collection of information about a person’s health. It may include information about allergies, illnesses and surgeries, and dates and results of physical exams, tests, screenings, and immunizations. It may also include information about medicines taken and about diet and exercise. Also called personal health record and personal history.
personalized medicine(PER-suh-nuh-LIZED MEH-dih-sin)
A form of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes, proteins, and environment to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.
perturbation
A disruption or disturbance.
pertussis(per-TUH-sus)
A serious bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes that spreads easily. Pertussis begins like a cold, but develops into severe coughing and gasping for air. Long spells of coughing may cause vomiting, and broken blood vessels in the eyes and on the skin. Also called whooping cough.
pertuzumab(per-TOO-zoo-mab)
A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are produced in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells.
pesticide(PES-tih-side)
Any substance that is used to kill insects and other pests.
PET scan
A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is used. Because cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body. Also called positron emission tomography scan.
pet-facilitated therapy(…fuh-SIH-lih-tay-ted THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of therapy that uses dogs or other pets to improve the physical and mental health of patients with certain acute or chronic diseases. It is being studied as a way to relieve distress in cancer patients undergoing treatment for pain. Also called animal-assisted therapy.
petechiae(peh-TEH-kee-a)
Pinpoint, unraised, round red spots under the skin caused by bleeding.
petrolatum(PEH-troh-LAY-tum)
A thick, greasy, substance with no odor or taste made from petroleum (mixture of oily liquids found in the earth). Petrolatum is used on the skin to prevent drying and to help heal scrapes and burns. It is also used as a base for some ointments. Also called petroleum jelly.
petroleum jelly(peh-TROH-lee-um …)
A thick, greasy, substance with no odor or taste made from petroleum (mixture of oily liquids found in the earth). Petroleum jelly is used on the skin to prevent drying and to help heal scrapes and burns. It is also used as a base for some ointments. Also called petrolatum.
Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
A genetic disorder in which polyps form in the intestine and dark spots appear on the mouth and fingers. Having PJS increases the risk of developing gastrointestinal and many other types of cancer. Also called PJS.
PF-00299804
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
PF-3512676
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. Also called CpG 7909 and ProMune.
PG
One of several hormone-like substances made by the body. Different PGs control blood pressure, contraction of smooth muscles, and other processes within tissues where they are made. Certain PGs are being studied as cancer biomarkers. Also called prostaglandin.
PGE1
A drug that is used to treat impotence (inability to have an erection) and is being studied in the treatment of sexual problems in men who have had surgery for prostate cancer. It is a type of vasodilator. Also called alprostadil and prostaglandin E1.
PHA-739358
A substance being studied in the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia. PHA-739358 may stop tumor growth by blocking certain enzymes needed for cancer cells to divide and causing them to die. It is a type of kinase inhibitor.
phagocyte(FA-goh-site)
A type of immune cell that can surround and kill microorganisms, ingest foreign material, and remove dead cells. It can also boost immune responses. Monocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils are phagocytes. A phagocyte is a type of white blood cell.
phagocytosis(FA-goh-sy-TOH-sis)
The process by which a phagocyte (a type of white blood cell) surrounds and destroys foreign substances (such as bacteria) and removes dead cells.
phantom limb pain
The sensation of pain or other unpleasant feelings in the place of a missing (phantom) limb.
pharmacist(FAR-muh-sist)
A person licensed to prepare and dispense (give out) prescription drugs and who has been taught how they work, how to use them, and their side effects.
pharmacogenetics(FAR-muh-koh-jeh-NEH-tix)
The study of how a person’s genes affect the way he or she responds to drugs. Pharmacogenetics is being used to learn ahead of time what the best drug or the best dose of a drug will be for a person. Also called pharmacogenomics.
pharmacogenomics(FAR-muh-koh-jeh-NOH-mix)
The study of how a person’s genes affect the way he or she responds to drugs. Pharmacogenomics is being used to learn ahead of time what the best drug or the best dose of a drug will be for a person. Also called pharmacogenetics.
pharmacokinetics(FAR-muh-koh-kih-NEH-tix)
The activity of drugs in the body over a period of time, including the processes by which drugs are absorbed, distributed in the body, localized in the tissues, and excreted.
pharmacology(FAR-muh-KAH-loh-jee)
The study of the origin, chemistry, and uses of drugs and their effects on the body.
pharmacopoeia
A book describing chemicals, drugs, and other substances and how they are used as medicines. It is prepared by a recognized authority.
pharyngeal cancer(fuh-RIN-jee-ul KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the pharynx (the hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the windpipe and esophagus). Pharyngeal cancer includes cancer of the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose), the oropharynx (the middle part of the pharynx), and the hypopharynx (the bottom part of the pharynx). Cancer of the larynx (voice box) may also be included as a type of pharyngeal cancer. Most pharyngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in thin, flat cells that look like fish scales). Also called throat cancer.
pharynx(FAYR-inx)
The hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes to the stomach). The pharynx is about 5 inches long, depending on body size. Also called throat.
phase I detoxification(FAYZ ... dee-TOK-sih-fih-KAY-shun)
A process in which the liver uses one of two major enzyme pathways to change a toxic substance, such as an anticancer drug, into a less toxic substance that is easier for the body to excrete.
phase I trial
The first step in testing a new treatment in humans. These studies test the best way to give a new treatment (for example, by mouth, intravenous infusion, or injection) and the best dose. The dose is usually increased a little at a time in order to find the highest dose that does not cause harmful side effects. Because little is known about the possible risks and benefits of the treatments being tested, phase I trials usually include only a small number of patients who have not been helped by other treatments.
phase I/II trial
A trial to study the safety, dosage levels, and response to a new treatment.
phase II detoxification(FAYZ ... dee-TOK-sih-fih-KAY-shun)
A process in which the liver uses one of two major enzyme pathways to change a toxic substance, such as an anticancer drug, into a less toxic substance that is easier for the body to excrete. In phase II detoxification, liver cells add a substance (such as cysteine, glycine, or a sulfur molecule) to a toxic chemical or drug, to make it less harmful.
phase II trial
A study to test whether a new treatment has an anticancer effect (for example, whether it shrinks a tumor or improves blood test results) and whether it works against a certain type of cancer.
phase II/III trial
A trial to study response to a new treatment and the effectiveness of the treatment compared with the standard treatment regimen.
phase III trial
A study to compare the results of people taking a new treatment with the results of people taking the standard treatment (for example, which group has better survival rates or fewer side effects). In most cases, studies move into phase III only after a treatment seems to work in phases I and II. Phase III trials may include hundreds of people.
phase IV trial
After a treatment has been approved and is being marketed, it is studied in a phase IV trial to evaluate side effects that were not apparent in the phase III trial. Thousands of people are involved in a phase IV trial.
phenethyl isothiocyanate
A substance being studied in the prevention of cancer. It is a naturally occurring compound found in some cruciferous vegetables. Also called PEITC.
phenobarbital
A drug that is used to treat seizures and as a sedative. It is being studied in the treatment of diarrhea and for its ability to increase the antitumor effect of other therapies. It belongs to the family of drugs called barbiturates.
phenocopy
A phenotypic trait or disease that resembles the trait expressed by a particular genotype, but in an individual who is not a carrier of that genotype. For example, breast cancer in a hereditary breast/ovarian cancer syndrome family member who does not carry the family’s BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation would be considered a phenocopy. Such an individual does not have the family’s cancer-related mutation and therefore, they do not have the associated cancer risk from that specific mutation.
phenol(FEE-nol)
A very poisonous chemical substance made from tar and also found in some plants and essential oils (scented liquid taken from plants). Phenol is used to make plastics, nylon, epoxy, medicines, and to kill germs. Also called carbolic acid.
phenothiazine(FEE-noh-THY-uh-zeen)
A type of drug that is used to treat severe mental and emotional disorders, severe nausea and vomiting, and certain other conditions. It belongs to the families of drugs called antipsychotics and antiemetics.
phenotype
The observable characteristics in an individual resulting from the expression of genes; the clinical presentation of an individual with a particular genotype.
phenoxodiol
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called signal transduction inhibitors.
phenylacetate(FEH-nil-A-seh-tayt)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.
phenylbutyrate
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called differentiating agents.
phenylketonuria(FEH-nil-KEE-tone-yoor-ee-uh)
An inherited disorder that causes a build-up of phenylalanine (an amino acid) in the blood. This can cause mental retardation, behavioral and movement problems, seizures, and delayed development. Using a blood test, PKU can easily be found in newborns, and treatment is a diet low in phenylalanine. Also called PKU.
pheochromocytoma(FEE-oh-KROH-moh-sy-TOH-muh)
Tumor that forms in the center of the adrenal gland (gland located above the kidney) that causes it to make too much adrenaline. Pheochromocytomas are usually benign (not cancer) but can cause high blood pressure, pounding headaches, heart palpitations, flushing of the face, nausea, and vomiting.
pheresis(fer-E-sis)
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 apheresis.
Philadelphia chromosome(FIH-luh-DEL-fee-uh KROH-muh-some)
An abnormality of chromosome 22 in which part of chromosome 9 is transferred to it. Bone marrow cells that contain the Philadelphia chromosome are often found in chronic myelogenous leukemia.
philosophical(FIH-luh-SAH-fih-kul)
Having to do with the deeper questions of life and with a person’s basic beliefs, ideas, and attitudes.
phlebitis(fleh-BY-tis)
Inflammation (redness, swelling, pain, and heat) of a vein, usually in the legs. Phlebitis may be caused by infection, injury, or irritation.
phlebotomy(fleh-BAH-toh-mee)
The puncture of a vein with a needle for the purpose of drawing blood. Also called venipuncture.
phlegm(flem)
A more than normal amount of thick mucus made by the cells lining the upper airways and lungs. A buildup of phlegm may be caused by infection, irritation, or chronic lung disease, and can cause discomfort in the chest and coughing.
phobia(FOH-bee-uh)
An extreme, irrational, fear of something that may cause a person to panic. Examples of common phobias include fear of spiders, flying in an airplane, elevators, heights, enclosed rooms, crowded public places, and embarrassing oneself in front of other people.
phosphate(FOS-fayt)
A form of phosphoric acid, which contains phosphorus. In the body, phosphates are found in the bones and teeth. Phosphates may be used to treat a high level of calcium in the blood. Adding or removing phosphate chemical groups may affect the way proteins act in the body.
phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase(FOS-fuh-TY-dul-ih-NOH-sih-TOL-3 KY-nays)
A type of enzyme that transmits signals in cells and that helps control cell growth. Some tumors have higher-than-normal levels of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase. Also called PI3 kinase and PI3K.
phospholipid(FOS-foh-LIH-pid)
A lipid (fat) that contains phosphorus. Phospholipids are a major part of cell membranes.
phospholipid complex(FOS-foh-LIH-pid KOM-plex)
A chemical or drug that is attached to a lipid (fat) that contains phosphorus.
phosphoric(FOS-for-ric)
Having to do with or containing the element phosphorus.
phosphoric acid(fos-FOR-ik A-sid)
An acid that contains phosphorus and is used in medicine and dentistry. It is also used to remove rust. A dilute form of phosphoric acid is used to flavor soft drinks.
phosphorus(FOS-for-us)
A nonmetallic element that is found in the blood, muscles, nerves, bones, and teeth and is a component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP; the primary energy source for the body's cells).
phosphorus-32(FOS-for-us-32)
A radioactive form of phosphorus used in the treatment of cancer. It is also used to help locate areas of DNA damage.
phosphorylation(FOS-for-ih-lay-shun)
A process in which a phosphate group is added to a molecule, such as a sugar or a protein.
photoactivity(FOH-toh-ak-TIH-vih-tee)
The effect produced when certain substances are exposed to light. In cancer treatment, some drugs become active when exposed to light and are then able to kill tumor cells.
photocoagulation(FOH-toh-koh-A-gyuh-LAY-shun)
The use of an intense beam of light, such as a laser, to seal off blood vessels or destroy tissue. It is used to treat certain eye conditions, and may be used to destroy blood vessels that a tumor needs to grow.
photodynamic therapy(FOH-toh-dy-NA-mik THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment with drugs that become active when exposed to light. These activated drugs may kill cancer cells.
Photofrin(FOH-toh-frin)
A drug used to treat some types of cancer. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, Photofrin becomes active and kills the cancer cells. It is a type of photodynamic therapy agent. Also called porfimer sodium.
photon-beam radiation(FOH-ton beem RAY-dee-AY-shun)
A type of radiation therapy that reaches deep tumors with high-energy x-rays made by a machine called a linear accelerator.
photopheresis(FOH-toh-fuh-REE-siss)
A procedure in which blood is removed from the body and treated with ultraviolet light and drugs that become active when exposed to light. The blood is then returned to the body. It is being studied in the treatment of some blood and bone marrow diseases and graft-vs-host disease (GVHD). Also called extracorporeal photopheresis.
photophobia(FOH-toh-FOH-bee-uh)
A condition in which the eyes are more sensitive than normal to light.
photosensitizer(FOH-toh-SEN-sih-ty-zer)
A drug used in photodynamic therapy. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, the drug becomes active and kills the cancer cells. Also called photosensitizing agent.
photosensitizing agent(FOH-toh-SEN-sih-ty-zing AY-jent)
A drug used in photodynamic therapy. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, the drug becomes active and kills the cancer cells. Also called photosensitizer.
phototesting(FOH-toh-TES-ting)
Special tests used to measure the reaction of the skin to ultraviolet radiation. Phototesting is being used to see if drugs taken by mouth to treat cancer make the skin more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation.
phototherapy(FOH-toh-THAYR-uh-pee)
The treatment of disease with certain types of light. Phototherapy can use lasers, LED, fluorescent lamps, and ultraviolet or infrared radiation. Also called light therapy.
phototoxicity(FOH-toh-tok-SIH-sih-tee)
A condition in which the skin or eyes become very sensitive to sunlight or other forms of light. It can be caused by taking certain drugs, or rubbing certain essential oils (scented liquid taken from plants) or other topical agents into the skin. Phototoxicity causes sunburn, blisters, and other skin problems.
phyllodes tumor(fih-LOH-deez TOO-mer)
A type of tumor found in breast or prostate tissue. It is often large and bulky and grows quickly. It may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer) and may spread to other parts of the body. Also called CSP and cystosarcoma phyllodes.
physiatrist(fih-ZY-uh-trist)
A doctor who specializes in physical medicine (the prevention and treatment of disease or injury with physical methods, such as exercise and machines). Also called physical medicine specialist.
physical dependence(FIH-zih-kul dee-PEN-dents)
A condition in which a person takes a drug over time, and unpleasant physical symptoms occur if the drug is suddenly stopped or taken in smaller doses.
physical examination(FIH-zih-kul eg-ZA-mih-NAY-shun)
An exam of the body to check for general signs of disease.
physical medicine specialist(FIH-zih-kul MEH-dih-sin SPEH-shuh-list)
A doctor who specializes in physical medicine (the prevention and treatment of disease or injury with physical methods, such as exercise and machines). Also called physiatrist.
physical therapist
A health professional who teaches exercises and physical activities that help condition muscles and restore strength and movement.
physical therapy(FIH-zih-kul THAYR-uh-pee)
The use of exercises and physical activities to help condition muscles and restore strength and movement. For example, physical therapy can be used to restore arm and shoulder movement and build back strength after breast cancer surgery.
physician(fih-ZIH-shun)
Medical doctor.
physician assistant(fih-ZIH-shun uh-SIS-tunt)
A health professional who is licensed to do certain medical procedures under the guidance of a doctor. A physician assistant may take medical histories, do physical exams, take blood and urine samples, care for wounds, and give injections and immunizations. Also called PA.
Physician Data Query(fih-ZIH-shun DAY-tuh KWEER-ee)
Physician Data Query is an online database developed and maintained by the National Cancer Institute. Designed to make the most current, credible, and accurate cancer information available to health professionals and the public, Physician Data Query contains peer-reviewed summaries on cancer treatment, screening, prevention, genetics, complementary and alternative medicine, and supportive care; a registry of cancer clinical trials from around the world; and directories of physicians, professionals who provide genetics services, and organizations that provide cancer care. Most of this information, and more specific information about Physician Data Query, can be found on the NCI's Web site at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq. Also called PDQ.
physiologic(FIH-zee-uh-LAH-jik)
Having to do with the functions of the body. When used in the phrase "physiologic age," it refers to an age assigned by general health, as opposed to calendar age.
phytic acid(FY-tik A-sid)
A substance found in many foods that come from plants, including corn, wheat, rice, and soybeans, and in large amounts in cereals and legumes. It is being studied in the prevention of cancer. Also called inositol hexaphosphate and IP6.
phytochemical(FY-toh-KEH-mih-kuhl)
A substance found in plants. Some phytochemicals may reduce the risk of cancer.
phytoestrogen(FY-toh-ES-truh-jin)
An estrogen-like substance found in some plants and plant products. Phytoestrogens may have anticancer effects.
phytohemagglutinin(FY-toh-HEE-muh-GLOO-tih-nin)
A substance found in plants that causes red blood cells to clump together and certain white blood cells to divide.
phytol(FY-tol)
A chemical substance that comes from plants and is used to make vitamins E and K. Phytol is also found in soaps, beauty care products, and household products.
phytosterol(FY-toh-STEE-rol)
A plant-based compound that can compete with dietary cholesterol to be absorbed by the intestines, resulting in lower blood cholesterol levels. Phytosterols may have some effect in cancer prevention. Also called plant sterol.
PI-88
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiangiogenesis agents.
PI3 kinase(... KY-nays)
A type of enzyme that transmits signals in cells and that helps control cell growth. Some tumors have higher-than-normal levels of PI3 kinase. Also called phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase and PI3K.
PI3K
A type of enzyme that transmits signals in cells and that helps control cell growth. Some tumors have higher-than-normal levels of PI3K. Also called phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase and PI3 Kinase.
pigment
A substance that gives color to tissue. Pigments are responsible for the color of skin, eyes, and hair.
pilocarpine
A drug used to increase salivation in people who have dry mouth caused by opioids or radiation therapy. Pilocarpine belongs to the family of drugs called alkaloids.
pilocytic(PY-loh-SIH-tik)
Made up of cells that look like fibers when viewed under a microscope.
pilot study(PY-lut STUH-dee)
The initial study examining a new method or treatment.
PIN
Noncancerous growth of cells lining the internal and external surfaces of the prostate gland. Having high-grade PIN may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Also called prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia.
pineal body
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal gland and pineal organ.
pineal gland(PIN-ee-al)
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal body and pineal organ.
pineal organ
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal body and pineal gland.
pineal region tumor(PIN-ee-al...)
A type of brain tumor that occurs in or around the pineal gland, a tiny organ near the center of the brain.
pineoblastoma(PIN-ee-oh-blas-TOH-muh)
A fast growing type of brain tumor that occurs in or around the pineal gland, a tiny organ near the center of the brain.
pineocytoma(PIN-ee-oh-sy-TOH-muh)
A slow growing type of brain tumor that occurs in or around the pineal gland, a tiny organ near the center of the brain.
pinkeye
A condition in which the conjunctiva (membranes lining the eyelids and covering the white part of the eye) become inflamed or infected. Also called conjunctivitis.
pioglitazone(py-oh-GLIH-tuh-zone)
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 condition affecting the mouth ) from developing into cancer. It is a type of thiazolidinedione. Also called Actos.
piperacillin-tazobactam
A drug combination that is used to treat infection in people with cancer. Piperacillin is a synthetic penicillin; tazobactam enhances the effectiveness of piperacillin.
pirfenidone
A substance that is being studied in the prevention and treatment of scar tissue caused by radiation therapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called anti-inflammatory agents.
Piritrexim(peer-ee-TREX-im)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called folate antagonists.
pituitary gland(pih-TOO-ih-TAYR-ee...)
The main endocrine gland. It produces hormones that control other glands and many body functions, especially growth.
pituitary tumor(pih-TOO-ih-TAYR-ee TOO-mer)
A tumor that forms in the pituitary gland. The pituitary is a pea-sized organ in the center of the brain above the back of the nose. It makes hormones that affect other glands and many body functions, especially growth. Most pituitary tumors are benign (not cancer).
pixantrone
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics. Also called BBR 2778.
PJS
A genetic disorder in which polyps form in the intestine and dark spots appear on the mouth and fingers. Having PJS increases the risk of developing gastrointestinal and many other types of cancer. Also called Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.
PKC
An enzyme found throughout the body's tissues and organs. Several forms of PKC are involved in many cellular functions. PKC is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called protein kinase C.
PKC412
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of leukemia. It belongs to the family of drugs called protein kinase inhibitors. Also called midostaurin and N-benzoyl-staurosporine.
PKU
An inherited disorder that causes a build-up of phenylalanine (an amino acid) in the blood. This can cause mental retardation, behavioral and movement problems, seizures, and delayed development. Using a blood test, PKU can easily be found in newborns, and treatment is a diet low in phenylalanine. Also called phenylketonuria.
placebo
An inactive substance or treatment that looks the same as, and is given the same way as, an active drug or treatment being tested. The effects of the active drug or treatment are compared to the effects of the placebo.
placebo therapy(pluh-SEE-boh THAYR-uh-pee)
An inactive treatment or procedure that is intended to mimic as closely as possible a therapy in a clinical trial. Also called sham therapy.
placebo-controlled
Refers to a clinical study in which the control patients receive a placebo.
placenta
The organ that nourishes the developing fetus in the uterus.
placental blood transplantation(pluh-SEN-tul blud tranz-plan-TAY-shun)
The transfer of blood from a placenta to an individual whose own blood production system is suppressed. Placental blood contains high levels of stem cells needed to produce new blood cells. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer and severe blood disorders such as aplastic anemia.
Plan B
A form of the hormone progesterone that is made in the laboratory and used to prevent pregnancy. It is being studied in the prevention of ovarian and endometrial cancer, and in the treatment of other conditions. Plan B is a type of oral contraceptive. Also called L-norgestrel and levonorgestrel.
plant sterol(... STEER-ol)
A plant-based compound that can compete with dietary cholesterol to be absorbed by the intestines, resulting in lower blood cholesterol levels. Plant sterols may have some effect in cancer prevention. Also called phytosterol.
plaque(plak)
In medicine, a small, abnormal patch of tissue on a body part or an organ. Plaques may also be a build-up of substances from a fluid, such as cholesterol in the blood vessels.
plaque radiotherapy(PLAK RAY-dee-oh-THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of radiation therapy used to treat eye tumors. A thin piece of metal (usually gold) with radioactive seeds placed on one side is sewn onto the outside wall of the eye with the seeds aimed at the tumor. It is removed at the end of treatment, which usually lasts for several days
plasma(PLAZ-muh)
The clear, yellowish, fluid part of the blood that carries the blood cells. The proteins that form blood clots are in plasma.
plasma cell(PLAZ-muh SEL)
A type of immune cell that makes large amounts of a specific antibody. Plasma cells develop from B cells that have been activated. A plasma cell is a type of white blood cell. Also called plasmacyte.
plasma cell myeloma(PLAZ-muh SEL MY-eh-LOH-muh)
A type of cancer that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). Also called Kahler disease, multiple myeloma, and myelomatosis.
plasma cell tumor(PLAZ-muh SEL TOO-mer)
A tumor that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). Multiple myeloma, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and plasmacytoma are types of plasma cell tumors.
plasma membrane(PLAZ-muh MEM-brayn)
The outer membrane of a cell.
plasmacyte(PLAZ-muh-site)
A type of immune cell that makes large amounts of a specific antibody. Plasmacytes develop from B cells that have been activated. A plasmacyte is a type of white blood cell. Also called plasma cell.
plasmacytic(PLAZ-muh-SIH-tik)
Having to do with plasma cells (a type of white blood cells).
plasmacytoma(PLAZ-muh-sy-TOH-muh)
A type of cancer that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). A plasmacytoma may turn into multiple myeloma.
plasmapheresis(PLAZ-muh-feh-REE-sis)
The process of separating certain cells from the plasma in the blood by a machine; only the cells are returned to the person. Plasmapheresis can be used to remove excess antibodies from the blood.
plastic surgeon(PLAS-tik SER-jun)
A surgeon who specializes in reducing scarring or disfigurement that may occur as a result of accidents, birth defects, or treatment for diseases.
plastic surgery(PLAS-tik SER-juh-ree)
An operation that restores or improves the appearance of body structures.
platelet(PLATE-let)
A tiny piece of a cell found in the blood that breaks off from a large cell found in the bone marrow. Platelets help wounds heal and prevent bleeding by forming blood clots. Also called thrombocyte.
platelet-derived growth factor(PLATE-let-dih-RIVED grohth FAK-ter)
A family of molecules released from platelets (tiny pieces of cells that are found in the blood and that help the blood clot). Forms of platelet-derived growth factor help to heal wounds and to repair damage to blood vessel walls. They also help blood vessels grow. Also called PDGF.
platinum
A metal that is an important component of some anticancer drugs, such as cisplatin and carboplatin.
Plenaxis
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 abarelix.
pleomorphic
Occurring in various distinct forms. In terms of cells, having variation in the size and shape of cells or their nuclei.
plerixafor(pleh-RIX-uh-for)
A drug used before autologous stem cell transplantation in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma or multiple myeloma. Plerixafor is given together with granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) to help move stem cells from the bone marrow to the blood. The stem cells can then be collected, stored, and given back to the patient. Plerixafor is a type of chemokine receptor antagonist. Also called AMD 3100 and Mozobil.
pleura(PLOOR-uh)
A thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity. It protects and cushions the lungs. This tissue secretes a small amount of fluid that acts as a lubricant, allowing the lungs to move smoothly in the chest cavity while breathing.
pleural cavity
The space enclosed by the pleura, which is a thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity.
pleural effusion
An abnormal collection of fluid between the thin layers of tissue (pleura) lining the lung and the wall of the chest cavity.
pleurectomy(ploor-EK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part of the pleura (a thin layer of tissue that covers the interior wall of the chest cavity).
pleurodesis(PLOOR-oh-DEE-sis)
A medical procedure that uses chemicals or drugs to cause inflammation and adhesion between the layers of the pleura (a thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity). This prevents the buildup of fluid in the pleural cavity. It is used as a treatment for severe pleural effusion.
pleuropulmonary blastoma(ploor-oh-PUL-muh-NAYR-ee blas-TOH-muh)
A rare and very aggressive (fast-growing) cancer that forms in tissues of the lung and pleura (a thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity). Pleuropulmonary blastoma is most common in children.
plexiform neurofibroma
A nerve that has become thick and misshapen due to the abnormal growth of cells and tissues that cover the nerve.
plexopathy(pleks-AH-pah-thee)
A disorder affecting a network of nerves, blood vessels, or lymph vessels.
plicamycin(ply-kuh-MY-sin)
A drug used to treat some types of testicular cancer. It is also used to treat a higher-than-normal amounts of calcium in the blood or urine. Plicamycin binds to DNA and prevents cells from making RNA and proteins. It is a type of antineoplastic antibiotic. Also called Mithracin and mithramycin.
PLL
A type of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in which too many immature white blood cells (prolymphocytes) are found in the blood and bone marrow. PLL usually progresses more rapidly than classic CLL. Also called prolymphocytic leukemia.
ploidy(PLOY-dee)
The number of sets of chromosomes in a cell or an organism. For example, haploid means one set and diploid means two sets.
Plummer-Vinson syndrome
A disorder marked by anemia caused by iron deficiency, and a web-like growth of membranes in the throat that makes swallowing difficult. Having Plummer-Vinson syndrome may increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Also called Paterson-Kelly syndrome and sideropenic dysphagia.
pluripotent(ploo-RIH-poh-tent)
Able to mature or develop in any of several ways.
pluripotent stem cell(ploo-RIH-poh-tent ...)
A cell that is able to develop into many different types of cells or tissues in the body.
pM-81
A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the detection and treatment of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are produced in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells.
PMN
A type of immune cell that has granules (small particles) with enzymes that are released during infections, allergic reactions, and asthma. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils are PMNs. A PMN is a type of white blood cell. Also called granular leukocyte, granulocyte, and polymorphonuclear leukocyte.
PN401
A substance that is being studied for its ability to protect against the gastrointestinal side effects caused by fluorouracil. It belongs to the family of drugs called cytoprotective agents. Also called triacetyluridine.
PNET
One of a group of cancers that develop from the same type of early cells, and share certain biochemical and genetic features. Some PNETs develop in the brain and central nervous system (CNS-PNET), and others develop in sites outside of the brain such as the limbs, pelvis, and chest wall (peripheral PNET). Also called primitive neuroectodermal tumor.
pneumatic larynx(noo-MAT-ik LAIR-inks)
A device that is used to help a person talk after a laryngectomy. It uses air to produce a humming sound, which is converted to speech by movement of the lips, tongue, or glottis.
pneumonectomy(NOO-moh-NEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove all of one lung. In a partial pneumonectomy, one or more lobes of a lung are removed.
pneumonia(noo-MOH-nyuh)
A severe inflammation of the lungs in which the alveoli (tiny air sacs) are filled with fluid. This may cause a decrease in the amount of oxygen that blood can absorb from air breathed into the lung. Pneumonia is usually caused by infection but may also be caused by radiation therapy, allergy, or irritation of lung tissue by inhaled substances. It may involve part or all of the lungs.
pneumonitis(NOO-moh-NY-tis)
Inflammation of the lungs. This may be caused by disease, infection, radiation therapy, allergy, or irritation of lung tissue by inhaled substances.
PNH
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. A rare disorder in which red blood cells are easily destroyed by certain immune system proteins. Symptoms include blood clots, and red or brownish urine in the morning. Aplastic anemia (decreased production of blood cells) may lead to PNH, and people with this disorder are at increased risk of acute myelogenous leukemia. Also called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.
PNU 166148
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors.
PNU-93914
A form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel that is contained in very tiny, fat-like particles. It may have fewer side effects and work better than paclitaxel. It is being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. PNU-93914 blocks the ability of cells to divide and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called LEP-ETU, liposomal paclitaxel, LipoTaxen, and paclitaxel liposome.
podiatrist(puh-DY-uh-trist)
A doctor who specializes in the care of the foot and ankle.
point mutation
An alteration in a DNA sequence caused by the substitution of a single nucleotide for another nucleotide.
polifeprosan 20 carmustine implant
A biodegradable wafer that is used to deliver the anticancer drug carmustine directly into a brain tumor site after the tumor has been removed by surgery. Also called Gliadel Wafer.
poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase(PAH-lee (AY-DEE-PEE-RY-bose) puh-LIM-eh-rays)
A type of 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. Inhibitors of one enzyme, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1, are being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called PARP.
poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor(PAH-lee (AY-DEE-PEE-RY-bose) puh-LIM-eh-rays in-HIH-bih-ter)
A substance that 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. It may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of targeted therapy. Also called PARP inhibitor.
poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1(PAH-lee(…-RY-bose) puh-LIM-eh-rayz-1)
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. Inhibitors of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 are being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called PARP-1.
poly-ICLC(PAH-lee ...)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer and for its ability to stimulate the immune system. It is made in the laboratory by combining the nucleic acid RNA with the chemicals poly-L-lysine and carboxymethyl cellulose.
polycystic ovary syndrome(PAH-lee-SIS-tik OH-vuh-ree SIN-drome)
A condition marked by infertility, enlarged ovaries, menstrual problems, high levels of male hormones, excess hair on the face and body, acne, and obesity. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and endometrial cancer. Also called PCOS.
polycythemia vera(PAH-lee-sy-THEE-mee-uh VAYR-uh)
A disease in which there are too many red blood cells in the bone marrow and blood, causing the blood to thicken. The number of white blood cells and platelets may also increase. The extra blood cells may collect in the spleen and cause it to become enlarged. They may also cause bleeding problems and make clots form in blood vessels.
polyethylene glycol(PAH-lee-EH-thih-leen GLY-kol)
A polymer made by joining molecules of ethylene oxide and water together in a repeating pattern. Polyethylene glycol can be a liquid or a waxy solid. In medicine, forms of polyethylene glycol can be used in ointments, in drugs or substances to make them stay in the body longer, or in laxatives. Also called PEG.
polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor(PAH-lee-EH-thih-leen gly-KAH-sih-lay-ted ree-KOM-bih-nunt HYOO-mun MEH-guh-KAH-ree-oh-site …)
A form of megakaryocyte growth and development factor (MGDF) that is made in the laboratory. MGDF comes from the protein thrombopoietin, which is normally made in the body to help make platelets. Polyethylene glycosylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor is being studied as a way to increase the number of platelets in patients receiving chemotherapy. Also called PEG-MGDF and PEG-rhMGDF.
polyglutamate camptothecin(PAH-lee-GLOO-tuh-mayt kamp-toh-THEK-in)
A form of the anticancer drug camptothecin that may have fewer side effects and work better than camptothecin. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of DNA topoisomerase inhibitor. Also called CT-2106.
polymer(PAH-lih-mer)
A molecule made up of small identical molecules called monomers. The monomers are joined together in a repeating pattern.
polymerase chain reaction(puh-LIM-eh-rays chayn ree-AK-shun)
A laboratory method used to make many copies of a specific DNA sequence. Also called PCR.
polymorphism(PAH-lee-MOR-fih-zum)
A common change in the genetic code in DNA. Polymorphisms can have a harmful effect, a good effect, or no effect. Some polymorphisms have been shown to increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
polymorphonuclear leukocyte(PAH-lee-MOR-foh-NOO-klee-er LOO-koh-SITE)
A type of immune cell that has granules (small particles) with enzymes that are released during infections, allergic reactions, and asthma. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils are polymorphonuclear leukocytes. A polymorphonuclear leukocyte is a type of white blood cell. Also called granular leukocyte, granulocyte, and PMN.
polymyositis(PAH-lee-MY-oh-SY-tis)
An inflammatory disease of the muscles closest to the center of the body. It causes weakness, inability to stand, climb stairs, lift, or reach. It may also cause muscle pain and difficulty swallowing, and may affect the lungs and heart. Having polymyositis increases the risk of certain types of cancer.
polyneuritis(PAH-lee-nuh-RY-tis)
Inflammation of several peripheral nerves at the same time.
polyp(PAH-lip)
A growth that protrudes from a mucous membrane.
polypectomy(PAH-lee-PEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove a polyp.
polyphenol(PAH-lee-FEE-nol)
A substance that is found in many plants and gives some flowers, fruits, and vegetables their color. Polyphenols have antioxidant activity.
Polyphenon E(PAH-lee-FEE-nun ...)
A substance being studied in the prevention of cancer. It is made from decaffeinated green tea, and contains chemicals called catechins, which are antioxidants. Also called green tea extract.
polyposis(PAH-lee-POH-sis)
The development of numerous polyps (growths that protrude from a mucous membrane).
polysaccharide(PAH-lee-SA-kuh-ride)
A large carbohydrate molecule. It contains many small sugar molecules that are joined chemically. Also called glycan.
polysomnogram(PAH-lee-SOM-noh-gram)
A group of recordings taken during sleep that shows brain wave changes, eye movements, breathing rate, blood pressure, heart rate, and the electrical activity of the heart and other muscles. A polysomnogram may be used to help diagnose sleep disorders.
polyvinylpyrrolidone-sodium hyaluronate gel(PAH-lee-VY-nil-py-ROL-ih-done-SOH-dee-um HY-uh-LOO-roh-nayt ...)
A gel used to lessen pain from mouth sores caused by chemotherapy or radiation therapy, oral surgery, braces, or disease. Polyvinylpyrrolidone-sodium hyaluronate gel is being studied in the treatment of pain caused by mouth sores in children receiving cancer treatment. It forms a thin layer over the surface of the mouth and throat to prevent irritation while eating, drinking, and talking. Also called Gelclair.
pomalidomide(POH-muh-LIH-doh-mide)
A substance being studied in the treatment of prostate cancer, multiple myeloma, and other types of cancer. Pomalidomide is a form of the drug thalidomide. It stops the growth of blood vessels, stimulates the immune system, and may kill cancer cells. Pomalidomide is a type of angiogenesis inhibitor and a type of immunomodulatory agent. Also called Actimid and CC-4047.
pomegranate
A subtropical shrub or tree. Juice from the fruit may contain substances that decrease or slow the rise of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. It is being studied for its ability to delay or prevent recurrent prostate cancer. The scientific name is Punica granatum.
pons
Part of the central nervous system, located at the base of the brain, between the medulla oblongata and the midbrain. It is part of the brainstem.
pontine(PON-teen)
Having to do with the pons (part of the central nervous system, located at the base of the brain, between the medulla oblongata and the midbrain).
population risk
The proportion of individuals in the general population who are affected with a particular disorder or who carry a certain gene; often discussed in the genetic counseling process as a comparison to the patient’s personal risk given his or her family history or other circumstances.
population study(PAH-pyoo-LAY-shun STUH-dee)
A study of a group of individuals taken from the general population who share a common characteristic, such as age, sex, or health condition. This group may be studied for different reasons, such as their response to a drug or risk of getting a disease.
porcine(POR-sine)
Having to do with or coming from pigs.
porfimer sodium(PORE-fih-mer SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to treat some types of cancer. When absorbed by cancer cells and exposed to light, porfimer sodium becomes active and kills the cancer cells. It is a type of photodynamic therapy agent. Also called Photofrin.
porfiromycin
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticancer antibiotics.
port
An implanted device through which blood may be withdrawn and drugs may be infused without repeated needle sticks. Also called port-a-cath.
port-a-cath
An implanted device through which blood may be withdrawn and drugs may be infused without repeated needle sticks. Also called port.
portal hypertension(PAW-til HY-per-TEN-shun)
High blood pressure in the vein that carries blood to the liver from the stomach, small and large intestines, spleen, pancreas, and gallbladder. It is usually caused by a block in the blood flow through the liver due to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver.
portal vein(POR-tul VAYN)
A blood vessel that carries blood to the liver from the stomach, small and large intestines, spleen, pancreas, and gallbladder. Also called hepatic portal vein.
positive axillary lymph node(PAH-zih-tiv AK-suh-LAYR-ee limf ...)
A lymph node in the area of the armpit (axilla) to which cancer has spread. This spread is determined by surgically removing some of the lymph nodes and examining them under a microscope to see whether cancer cells are present.
positive predictive value
The likelihood that an individual with a positive test result truly has the particular gene and/or disease in question. Also called PPV.
positive test result(PAH-zih-tiv ... reh-ZULT)
A test result that reveals the presence of a specific disease or condition for which the test is being done.
positron emission tomography scan(PAH-zih-tron ee-MIH-shun toh-MAH-gruh-fee skan)
A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is used. Because cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body. Also called PET scan.
post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder(POST-tranz-plant LIM-foh-proh-LIH-fuh-RUH-tiv dis-OR-der)
A condition in which a group of B-cells grow out of control after an organ transplant in patients with weakened immune systems. This usually happens if the patient has also been infected with Epstein-Barr virus. Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder may progress to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Also called PTLD.
post-traumatic stress disorder(POST-traw-MA-tik stres dis-OR-der)
An anxiety disorder that develops in reaction to physical injury or severe mental or emotional distress, such as military combat, violent assault, natural disaster, or other life-threatening events. Having cancer may also lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms interfere with day-to-day living and include reliving the event in nightmares or flashbacks; avoiding people, places, and things connected to the event; feeling alone and losing interest in daily activities; and having trouble concentrating and sleeping. Also called PTSD.
posterior(pos-TEER-ee-er)
In human anatomy, has to do with the back of a structure, or a structure found toward the back of the body.
posterior pelvic exenteration(pah-STEER-ee-er PEL-vik ek-ZEN-ter-AY-shun)
Surgery to remove the lower part of the bowel, rectum, uterus, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and vagina. Pelvic lymph nodes may also be removed.
posterior urethral cancer(pos-TEER-ee-er yoo-REE-thrul KAN-ser)
A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the part of the urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body) that connects to the bladder (the organ that stores urine).
postmenopausal(post-MEH-nuh-pawz-ul)
Having to do with the time after menopause. Menopause (“change of life”) is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods stop permanently.
postmortem
After death. Often used to describe an autopsy.
postoperative
After surgery.
postprandial
After a meal.
postremission therapy(post-ree-MIH-shun THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment that is given after cancer has disappeared following the initial therapy. Postremission therapy is used to kill any cancer cells that may be left in the body. It may include radiation therapy, a stem cell transplant, or treatment with drugs that kill cancer cells. Also called consolidation therapy and intensification therapy.
potassium(po-TASS-ee-um)
A metallic element that is important in body functions such as regulation of blood pressure and of water content in cells, transmission of nerve impulses, digestion, muscle contraction, and heartbeat.
potassium hydroxide
A toxic and highly corrosive chemical used to make soap, in bleaching, and as a paint remover. It is used in small amounts as a food additive and in the preparation of some drugs.
potentiation
In medicine, the effect of increasing the potency or effectiveness of a drug or other treatment.
power of attorney(POW-er of uh-TER-nee)
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives one person (such as a relative, lawyer, or friend) the authority to make legal, medical, or financial decisions for another person. It may go into effect right away, or when that person is no longer able to make decisions for himself or herself.
pPNET
A type of cancer that forms in bone or soft tissue. Also called Ewing sarcoma and peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor.
PPV
Positive predictive value. The likelihood that an individual with a positive test result truly has the particular gene and/or disease in question. Also called positive predictive value.
PR
A protein found inside the cells of the female reproductive tissue, some other types of tissue, and some cancer cells. The hormone progesterone will bind to the receptors inside the cells and may cause the cells to grow. Also called progesterone receptor.
PR+
Describes cells that have a protein to which the hormone progesterone will bind. Cancer cells that are PR+ need progesterone to grow and will usually stop growing when treated with hormones that block progesterone from binding. Also called progesterone receptor positive.
PR-
Describes cells that do not have a protein to which the hormone progesterone will bind. Cancer cells that are PR- do not need progesterone to grow, and usually do not stop growing when treated with hormones that block progesterone from binding. Also called progesterone receptor negative.
PR-104
A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. PR-104 becomes active when cancer cells don’t receive enough oxygen. It may kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA.
practitioner(prak-TIH-shuh-ner)
A person who works in a specific profession. For example, a doctor or nurse is a healthcare practitioner.
pralatrexate(PRA-luh-TREX-ayt)
A drug used in the treatment of peripheral T-cell lymphoma (a fast-growing form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma). It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pralatrexate may block the growth of cancer cells and cause them to die. It is a type of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) inhibitor. Also called FOLOTYN.
Pravachol(PRA-vuh-KOL)
A drug used to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood and to prevent stroke and heart attack. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer and other conditions. Pravachol blocks an enzyme that helps make cholesterol in the body. It may also make tumor cells more sensitive to anticancer drugs. It is a type of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, a type of statin, and a type of chemosensitizer. Also called pravastatin sodium.
pravastatin(PRA-vuh-stat-in)
The active ingredient in a drug used to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood and to prevent stroke and heart attack. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer and other conditions. Pravastatin blocks an enzyme that helps make cholesterol in the body. It may also make tumor cells more sensitive to anticancer drugs. It is a type of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, a type of statin, and a type of chemosensitizer.
pravastatin sodium(PRA-vuh-stat-in SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood and to prevent stroke and heart attack. It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer and other conditions. Pravastatin sodium blocks an enzyme that helps make cholesterol in the body. It may also make tumor cells more sensitive to anticancer drugs. It is a type of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, a type of statin, and a type of chemosensitizer. Also called Pravachol.
precancerous(pre-KAN-ser-us)
A term used to describe a condition that may (or is likely to) become cancer. Also called premalignant.
precancerous dermatitis(pree-KAN-seh-rus DER-muh-TY-tis)
A skin disease marked by scaly or thickened patches on the skin and often caused by prolonged exposure to arsenic. The patches often occur on sun-exposed areas of the skin and in older white men. These patches may become malignant (cancer). Also called Bowen disease and precancerous dermatosis.
precancerous dermatosis(pree-KAN-seh-rus DER-muh-TOH-sis)
A skin disease marked by scaly or thickened patches on the skin and often caused by prolonged exposure to arsenic. The patches often occur on sun-exposed areas of the skin and in older white men. These patches may become malignant (cancer). Also called Bowen disease and precancerous dermatitis.
precancerous polyps(pree-KAN-seh-rus PAH-lips)
Growths that may become cancer that protrude from a mucous membrane.
preclinical study(pree-KLIH-nih-kul STUH-dee)
Research using animals to find out if a drug, procedure, or treatment is likely to be useful. Preclinical studies take place before any testing in humans is done.
precursor B-lymphoblastic leukemia(pree-KER-ser B-LIM-foh-BLAS-tik loo-KEE-mee-uh)
An aggressive (fast-growing) type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many B-cell lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the bone marrow and blood. It is the most common type of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Also called B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and B-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia.
precursor lymphoblastic lymphoma(pree-KER-ser LIM-foh-BLAS-tik lim-FOH-muh)
An aggressive (fast-growing) type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in which too many lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the lymph nodes and the thymus gland. These lymphoblasts may spread to other places in the body. It is most common in teenagers and young adults and affects more males than females. It may be a T or B cell type. Also called lymphoblastic lymphoma.
precursor T-lymphoblastic leukemia(pree-KER-ser T-LIM-foh-BLAS-tik loo-KEE-mee-uh)
An aggressive (fast-growing) type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many T-cell lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the bone marrow and blood. Also called T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia.
precursor T-lymphoblastic lymphoma(pree-KER-ser T-LIM-foh-BLAS-tik lim-FOH-muh)
A type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in which too many T-cell lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the lymph nodes and spleen. It is most common in young men. Also called T-lymphoblastic lymphoma.
predictive factor(preh-DIK-tiv FAK-ter)
A condition or finding that can be used to help predict whether a person’s cancer will respond to a specific treatment. Predictive factor may also describe something that increases a person’s risk of developing a condition or disease.
predisposing mutation
A germline mutation that increases an individual’s susceptibility or predisposition to a certain disease or disorder. When such a mutation is inherited, development of symptoms is more likely, but not certain. Also called susceptibility gene.
prednisolone(pred-NIH-suh-lone)
A drug that lessens inflammation and suppresses the body’s immune response. It may also kill cancer cells. Prednisolone is used to treat disorders in many organ systems and to treat the symptoms of several types of leukemia and lymphoma. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Prednisolone is a type of therapeutic glucocorticoid.
prednisone(PRED-nih-sone)
A drug that lessens inflammation and suppresses immune responses. It may also kill leukemia and lymphoma cells. Prednisone is used to treat many conditions, including arthritis, certain skin diseases, allergies, low levels of some adrenal hormones, and anemia (a low level of red blood cells). It is also used to treat the symptoms of several types of leukemia and lymphoma. Prednisone is a type of therapeutic glucocorticoid.
pregabalin(preh-GAH-buh-lin)
A drug used to treat nerve pain caused by diabetes or herpes zoster infection and certain types of seizures. It is being studied in the prevention and treatment of nerve pain in the hands and feet of cancer patients given chemotherapy. Pregabalin is a type of anticonvulsant. Also called Lyrica.
preleukemia(PREE-loo-KEE-mee-a)
A group of diseases in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells. Also called myelodysplastic syndromes and smoldering leukemia.
premalignant(pree-muh-LIG-nunt)
A term used to describe a condition that may (or is likely to) become cancer. Also called precancerous.
premature menopause(PREE-muh-CHOOR MEN-uh-pawz)
A condition in which the ovaries stop working and menstrual periods stop before age 40. Natural menopause usually occurs around age 50. A woman is said to be in menopause when she hasn’t had a period for 12 months in a row. Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating, and infertility. Premature menopause can be caused by some cancer treatments, surgery to remove the ovaries, and certain diseases or genetic conditions. Also called early menopause, premature ovarian failure, and primary ovarian insufficiency.
premature ovarian failure(PREE-muh-CHOOR oh-VAYR-ee-un FAYL-yer)
A condition in which the ovaries stop working and menstrual periods stop before age 40. Natural menopause usually occurs around age 50. A woman is said to be in menopause when she hasn’t had a period for 12 months in a row. Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating, and infertility. Premature ovarian failure can be caused by some cancer treatments, surgery to remove the ovaries, and certain diseases or genetic conditions. Also called early menopause, premature menopause, and primary ovarian insufficiency.
premenopausal(pree-MEH-nuh-pawz-ul)
Having to do with the time before menopause. Menopause ("change of life") is the time of life when a woman's menstrual periods stop permanently.
premycotic phase(PREE-my-CAH-tik fayz)
A phase of mycosis fungoides in which a patient has areas of red, scaly, itchy skin on areas of the body that are usually not exposed to sun. This is early-phase mycosis fungoides, but it is hard to diagnose the rash as mycosis fungoides during this phase. The premycotic phase may last from months to decades.
prescription(prih-SKRIP-shun)
A doctor's order for medicine or another intervention.
presymptomatic testing
Genetic analysis of an asymptomatic or unaffected individual who is at risk of a specific genetic disorder.
pretracheal space
The area in front of the trachea (windpipe).
prevascular space(pre-VAS-kyoo-ler...)
The area in the front part of the chest between the lungs. Also called anterior mediastinum.
prevention(pree-VEN-shun)
In medicine, action taken to decrease the chance of getting a disease or condition. For example, cancer prevention includes avoiding risk factors (such as smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and radiation exposure) and increasing protective factors (such as getting regular physical activity, staying at a healthy weight, and having a healthy diet).
preventive
Used to prevent disease.
preventive mastectomy(pree-VEN-tiv ma-STEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by removing one or both breasts before disease develops. Also called prophylactic mastectomy.
Prialt(PREE-ult)
A drug used in the treatment of chronic pain. Also called SNX 111 and ziconotide.
primary care(PRY-mayr-ee…)
Health services that meet most basic health care needs over time. Primary care includes physical exams, treatment of common medical conditions, and preventive care such as immunizations and screenings. Primary care doctors are usually the first health professionals patients see for basic medical care. They may refer a patient to a specialist if needed.
primary care doctor
A doctor who manages a person's health care over time. A primary care doctor is able to give a wide range of care, including prevention and treatment, can discuss cancer treatment choices, and can refer a patient to a specialist.
primary central nervous system lymphoma(PRY-mayr-ee SEN-trul NER-vus SIS-tem lim-FOH-muh)
Cancer that forms in the lymph tissue of the brain, spinal cord, meninges (outer covering of the brain), or eye (called ocular lymphoma). Also called PCNSL and primary CNS lymphoma.
primary CNS lymphoma(PRY-mayr-ee…lim-FOH-muh)
Cancer that forms in the lymph tissue of the brain, spinal cord, meninges (outer covering of the brain), or eye (called ocular lymphoma). Also called PCNSL and primary central nervous system lymphoma.
primary effusion lymphoma(PRY-mayr-ee eh-FYOO-zhun lim-FOH-muh)
A rare, aggressive (fast-growing) type of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma marked by an abnormal build-up of fluids in a body cavity. It usually occurs together with a human herpesvirus in people who have weakened immune systems, such as in AIDS.
primary endpoint
The main result that is measured at the end of a study to see if a given treatment worked (e.g., the number of deaths or the difference in survival between the treatment group and the control group). What the primary endpoint will be is decided before the study begins.
primary myelofibrosis(... MY-eh-loh-fy-BROH-sis)
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 agnogenic myeloid metaplasia, chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis, idiopathic myelofibrosis, and myelosclerosis with myeloid metaplasia.
primary ovarian insufficiency(PRY-mayr-ee oh-VAYR-ee-un IN-suh-FIH-shen-see)
A condition in which the ovaries stop working and menstrual periods stop before age 40. Natural menopause usually occurs around age 50. A woman is said to be in menopause when she hasn’t had a period for 12 months in a row. Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble concentrating, and infertility. Primary ovarian insufficiency can be caused by some cancer treatments, surgery to remove the ovaries, and certain diseases or genetic conditions. Also called early menopause, premature menopause, and premature ovarian failure.
primary therapy(PRY-mayr-ee THAYR-uh-pee)
Initial treatment used to reduce a cancer. Primary therapy is followed by other treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy to get rid of cancer that remains. Also called first-line therapy, induction therapy, and primary treatment.
primary treatment(PRY-mayr-ee ...)
Initial treatment used to reduce a cancer. Primary treatment is followed by other treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy to get rid of cancer that remains. Also called first-line therapy, induction therapy, and primary therapy.
primary tumor
The original tumor.
primitive neuroectodermal tumor(PRI-muh-tiv NOOR-oh-EK-toh-DER-mul TOO-mer)
One of a group of cancers that develop from the same type of early cells, and share certain biochemical and genetic features. Some primitive neuroectodermal tumors develop in the brain and central nervous system (CNS-PNET), and others develop in sites outside of the brain such as the limbs, pelvis, and chest wall (peripheral PNET). Also called PNET.
prinomastat
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 AG3340.
pro-oxidant
A substance that can produce oxygen byproducts of metabolism that can cause damage to cells.
proband
The individual through whom a family with a genetic disorder is ascertained. In males this is called a propositus, and in females it is called a proposita.
probenecid(proh-BEN-uh-sid)
A drug that is used to treat gout and is used together with some antibiotics to make them work better. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antibiotic therapy adjuncts.
procarbazine(pro-KAR-buh-zeen)
The active ingredient in a drug that is used to treat advanced Hodgkin lymphoma and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Procarbazine blocks cells from making proteins and damages DNA. It may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antineoplastic agent and a type of alkylating agent.
procarbazine hydrochloride(pro-KAR-buh-zeen HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug that is used to treat advanced Hodgkin lymphoma and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Procarbazine hydrochloride blocks cells from making proteins and damages DNA. It may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antineoplastic agent and a type of alkylating agent. Also called Matulane.
prochlorperazine(pro-klor-PAIR-a-zeen)
A drug used to prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiemetics.
proctitis(prok-TY-tis)
Inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the rectum (the last several inches of the large intestine closest to the anus). Also called rectitis.
proctoscopy(prok-TOS-koh-pee)
Examination of the rectum using a proctoscope, inserted into the rectum. A proctoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease.
proctosigmoidoscopy(PROK-toh-sig-moy-DOS-koh-pee)
Examination of the lower colon using a sigmoidoscope, inserted into the rectum. A sigmoidoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease. Also called sigmoidoscopy.
progeny
Offspring; the product of reproduction or replication.
progesterone(proh-JES-tuh-RONE)
A type of hormone made by the body that plays a role in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Progesterone can also be made in the laboratory. It may be used as a type of birth control and to treat menstrual disorders, infertility, symptoms of menopause, and other conditions.
progesterone receptor(proh-JES-teh-rone reh-SEP-ter)
A protein found inside the cells of the female reproductive tissue, some other types of tissue, and some cancer cells. The hormone progesterone will bind to the receptors inside the cells and may cause the cells to grow. Also called PR.
progesterone receptor negative(proh-JES-teh-rone reh-SEP-ter NEH-guh-tiv)
Describes cells that do not have a protein to which the hormone progesterone will bind. Cancer cells that are progesterone receptor negative do not need progesterone to grow, and usually do not stop growing when treated with hormones that block progesterone from binding. Also called PR-.
progesterone receptor positive(proh-JES-teh-rone reh-SEP-ter PAH-zuh-tiv)
Describes cells that have a protein to which the hormone progesterone will bind. Cancer cells that are progesterone receptor positive need progesterone to grow and will usually stop growing when treated with hormones that block progesterone from binding. Also called PR+.
progesterone receptor test(proh-JES-teh-rone reh-SEP-ter test)
A lab test to find out if cancer cells have progesterone receptors (proteins to which the hormone progesterone will bind). If the cells have progesterone receptors, they may need progesterone to grow, and this can affect how the cancer is treated.
progestin(pro-JES-tin)
Any natural or laboratory-made substance that has some or all of the biologic effects of progesterone, a female hormone.
prognosis(prog-NO-sis)
The likely outcome or course of a disease; the chance of recovery or recurrence.
prognostic factor(prog-NOS-tik FAK-ter)
A situation or condition, or a characteristic of a patient, that can be used to estimate the chance of recovery from a disease or the chance of the disease recurring (coming back).
programmed cell death
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 programmed cell death may be blocked in cancer cells. Also called apoptosis.
progression(proh-GREH-shun)
In medicine, the course of a disease, such as cancer, as it becomes worse or spreads in the body.
progression-free survival(pruh-GREH-shun... ser-VY-vul)
The length of time during and after treatment in which a patient is living with a disease that does not get worse. Progression-free survival may be used in a clinical study or trial to help find out how well a new treatment works. Also called PFS.
progressive disease
Cancer that is growing, spreading, or getting worse.
prolactin(proh-LAK-tin)
A hormone that is made by the pituitary gland (a pea-sized organ in the center of the brain). Prolactin causes a woman’s breasts to make milk during and after pregnancy, and has many other effects in the body.
Proleukin(pro-LOO-kin)
A drug used to treat some types of cancer. It is a form of interleukin-2, a cytokine made by leukocytes (white blood cells), that is made in the laboratory. Proleukin increases the activity and growth of white blood cells called T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes. It is a type of biological response modifier. Also called aldesleukin and recombinant human interleukin-2.
proliferating(proh-LIH-fuh-RAYT-ing)
Multiplying or increasing in number. In biology, cell proliferation occurs by a process known as cell division.
proliferative index(proh-LIH-fuh-RAY-tiv ...)
A measure of the number of cells in a tumor that are dividing (proliferating). May be used with the S-phase fraction to give a more complete understanding of how fast a tumor is growing.
prolymphocytic leukemia
A type of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), in which too many immature white blood cells (prolymphocytes) are found in the blood and bone marrow. Prolymphocytic leukemia usually progresses more rapidly than classic CLL. Also called PLL.
Promacta(proh-MAK-tuh)
A drug used to treat chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura (a condition in which platelets are destroyed by the immune system). It causes more platelets to be made in the bone marrow. It is also being studied in the treatment of low platelet counts caused by chemotherapy. It is a type of thrombopoietin receptor agonist. Also called eltrombopag olamine.
promegapoietin(proh-MEH-guh-POY-eh-tin)
A drug given during chemotherapy to increase blood cell regeneration. Promegapoietin is a colony-stimulating factor that stimulates the production of blood cells, especially platelets. It is a cytokine and belongs to the family of drugs called hematopoietic (blood-forming) agents.
ProMune(PROH-myoon)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. Also called CpG 7909 and PF-3512676.
promyelocytic leukemia(PROH-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 acute promyelocytic leukemia and APL.
prophylactic(PROH-fih-LAK-tik)
In medicine, something that prevents or protects.
prophylactic cranial irradiation(proh-fih-LAK-tik KRAY-nee-ul ir-RAY-dee-AY-shun)
Radiation therapy to the head to reduce the risk that cancer will spread to the brain.
prophylactic mastectomy(PROH-fih-LAK-tik ma-STEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by removing one or both breasts before disease develops. Also called preventive mastectomy.
prophylactic oophorectomy(PROH-fih-LAK-tik oh-oh-foh-REK-toh-mee)
Surgery intended to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by removing the ovaries before disease develops.
prophylactic surgery(PROH-fih-LAK-tik SER-juh-ree)
Surgery to remove an organ or gland that shows no signs of cancer, in an attempt to prevent development of cancer of that organ or gland. Prophylactic surgery is sometimes chosen by people who know they are at high risk for developing cancer.
prophylaxis
An attempt to prevent disease.
proposita
The female individual through whom a family with a genetic disorder is ascertained. In males this is called a propositus.
propositus
The male individual through whom a family with a genetic disorder is ascertained. In females this is called a proposita.
prospective(proh-SPEK-tiv)
In medicine, a study or clinical trial in which participants are identified and then followed forward in time.
prospective cohort study(proh-SPEK-tiv KOH-hort STUH-dee)
A research study that follows over time groups of individuals who are alike in many ways but differ by a certain characteristic (for example, female nurses who smoke and those who do not smoke) and compares them for a particular outcome (such as lung cancer).
Prost 30
A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the detection and treatment of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are produced in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells.
prostaglandin(PROS-tuh-GLAN-din)
One of several hormone-like substances made by the body. Different prostaglandins control blood pressure, contraction of smooth muscles, and other processes within tissues where they are made. Certain prostaglandins are being studied as cancer biomarkers. Also called PG.
prostaglandin E1(PROS-tuh-GLAN-din …)
A drug that is used to treat impotence (inability to have an erection) and is being studied in the treatment of sexual problems in men who have had surgery for prostate cancer. It is a type of vasodilator. Also called alprostadil and PGE1.
prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2(PROS-tuh-GLAN-din-EN-doh-peh-ROK-side SIN-thayz)
An enzyme that speeds up the formation of substances that cause inflammation and pain. It may also cause tumor cells to grow. Some tumors have high levels of prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 and blocking its activity may reduce tumor growth. Also called COX-2 and cyclooxygenase-2.
ProstaScint(PROS-tuh-sint)
A substance used to detect prostate cancer. It contains a monoclonal antibody that binds to prostate cells, linked to a substance that can bind radioisotopes. ProstaScint is combined with indium 111 and injected into the body. A gamma camera (a special camera that detects radioactivity) is used to find prostate cancer cells in the body. ProstaScint is a type of immunoconjugate. Also called capromab pendetide.
ProstaScint scan(PROS-tuh-sint SKAN)
An imaging test used to detect prostate cancer. The patient receives an injection of an indium 111-labeled form of ProstaScint, which contains a monoclonal antibody that binds to prostate cells. A gamma camera (a special camera that detects radioactivity) is used to find prostate cancer cells in the body.
prostate(PROS-tayt)
A gland in the male reproductive system. The prostate surrounds the part of the urethra (the tube that empties the bladder) just below the bladder, and produces a fluid that forms part of the semen.
prostate cancer(PROS-tayt KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder and in front of the rectum). Prostate cancer usually occurs in older men.
prostate-specific antigen(PROS-tayt-speh-SIH-fik AN-tih-jen)
A protein made by the prostate gland and found in the blood. Prostate-specific antigen blood levels may be higher than normal in men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or infection or inflammation of the prostate gland. Also called PSA.
prostate-specific antigen test(PROS-tayt-speh-SIH-fik AN-tih-jen ...)
A blood test that measures the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a substance produced by the prostate and some other tissues in the body. Increased levels of PSA may be a sign of prostate cancer.
prostatectomy(PROS-tuh-TEK-toh-mee)
An operation to remove part or all of the prostate. Radical (or total) prostatectomy is the removal of the entire prostate and some of the tissue around it.
prostatic acid phosphatase(prah-STA-tik A-sid FOS-fuh-tays)
An enzyme produced by the prostate. It may be found in increased amounts in men who have prostate cancer. Also called PAP.
prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia(prah-STA-tik IN-truh-eh-puh-THEE-lee-ul NEE-oh-PLAY-zhuh)
Noncancerous growth of the cells lining the internal and external surfaces of the prostate gland. Having high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Also called PIN.
prostatitis(prah-stuh-TY-tis)
Inflammation of the prostate gland.
prostatocystectomy(PROS-tuh-toh-sis-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the bladder (the organ that holds urine) and the prostate. In a radical prostatocystectomy, the seminal vesicles are also removed. The prostate and seminal vesicles are glands in the male reproductive system that help make semen. Also called cystoprostatectomy.
prosthesis(pros-THEE-sis)
A device, such as an artificial leg, that replaces a part of the body.
prosthodontist(pros-thoh-DON-tist)
A dentist who specializes in replacing missing teeth or other structures of the mouth to restore an individual’s appearance, comfort, or health.
prostration(prah-STRAY-shun)
A condition in which a person is so tired or weak that he or she is unable to do anything.
protease inhibitor(PROH-tee-ays in-HIH-bih-ter)
A compound that interferes with the ability of certain enzymes to break down proteins. Some protease inhibitors can keep a virus from making copies of itself (for example, AIDS virus protease inhibitors), and some can prevent cancer cells from spreading.
proteasome inhibitor
A drug that blocks the action of proteasomes. A proteasome is a large protein complex that helps destroy other cellular proteins when they are no longer needed. Proteasome inhibitors are being studied in the treatment of cancer.
Protection of Human Subjects(proh-TEK-shun ... HYOO-mun ...)
Laws set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to protect a person from risks in research studies that any federal agency or department has a part in. Also called 45 CFR 46, 45 Code of Federal Regulations Part 46, and human participant protection regulations.
protective factor(proh-TEK-tiv FAK-ter)
Something that may decrease the chance of getting a certain disease. Some examples of protective factors for cancer are getting regular physical activity, staying at a healthy weight, and having a healthy diet.
protegrin(proh-TEH-grin)
One of a family of small proteins found in white blood cells in pigs. Protegrins kill certain bacteria, fungi, and viruses by making holes in their outer membranes and causing them to burst. A protegrin is a type of antimicrobial peptide.
protein(PRO-teen)
A molecule made up of amino acids that are needed for the body to function properly. Proteins are the basis of body structures such as skin and hair and of substances such as enzymes, cytokines, and antibodies.
protein expression(PROH-teen ek-SPREH-shun)
Refers to the amount of a protein made in a cell. The study of protein expression in cancer cells may give information about a specific type of cancer, the best treatment to use, and how well a treatment works.
protein expression profile(PROH-teen ek-SPREH-shun PROH-file)
Information about all proteins that are made in blood, other body fluids, or tissues, at certain times. A protein expression profile may be used to find and diagnose a disease or condition and to see how well the body responds to treatment. Also called protein signature and proteomic profile.
protein kinase B(PROH-teen KY-nays …)
A group of enzymes involved in several processes related to cell growth and survival. Protein kinase B enzymes help to transfer signals inside cells. A protein kinase B enzyme is a type of serine/threonine protein kinase. Also called Akt.
protein kinase C(PROH-teen KY-nayz ...)
An enzyme found throughout the body's tissues and organs. Several forms of PKC are involved in many cellular functions. PKC is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called PKC.
protein signature(PROH-teen SIG-nuh-cher)
Information about all proteins that are made in blood, other body fluids, or tissues, at certain times. A protein signature may be used to find and diagnose a disease or condition and to see how well the body responds to treatment. Also called protein expression profile and proteomic profile.
protein-bound paclitaxel(PROH-teen... PAK-lih-TAK-sil)
A drug used to treat breast cancer that has spread or that has come back within 6 months after chemotherapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of newly diagnosed breast cancer and other types of cancer. Protein-bound paclitaxel is a type of mitotic inhibitor. Also called ABI-007, Abraxane, nanoparticle paclitaxel, and paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation.
proteoglycan
A molecule that contains both protein and glycosaminoglycans, which are a type of polysaccharide. Proteoglycans are found in cartilage and other connective tissues.
proteomic profile
Information about all proteins that are made in blood, other body fluids, or tissues, at certain times. A proteomic profile may be used to find and diagnose a disease or condition and to see how well the body responds to treatment. Also called protein expression profile and protein signature.
proteomics
The study of the structure and function of proteins, including the way they work and interact with each other inside cells.
proto-oncogene(PROH-toh-ON-koh-jeen)
A gene involved in normal cell growth. Mutations (changes) in a proto-oncogene may cause it to become an oncogene, which can cause the growth of cancer cells.
Protocel
A liquid that has been promoted as a treatment for a wide range of diseases, including cancer. The ingredients thought to be in Protocel have been tested, and none of them has been shown to be effective in treating any form of cancer. Protocel is not available in the United States. Also called 126–F, Cancell, Cantron, Jim’s Juice, JS–101, JS–114, and Sheridan’s Formula.
protocol(PROH-toh-kol)
A detailed plan of a scientific or medical experiment, treatment, or procedure. In clinical trials, it states what the study will do, how it will be done, and why it is being done. It explains how many people will be in the study, who is eligible to take part in it, what study drugs or other interventions will be given, what tests will be done and how often, and what information will be collected.
proton(PROH-ton)
A small, positively charged particle of matter found in the atoms of all elements. Streams of protons generated by special equipment can be used for radiation treatment.
proton beam radiation therapy(PROH-ton beem RAY-dee-AY-shun THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of high-energy, external radiation therapy that uses streams of protons (small, positively charged particles) that come from a special machine. Proton beam radiation is different from x-ray radiation.
proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging(PROH-ton mag-NEH-tik REH-zoh-nants SPEK-troh-SKAH-pik IH-muh-jing)
A noninvasive imaging method that provides information about cellular activity (metabolic information). It is used along with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which provides information about the shape and size of the tumor (spatial information). Also called 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, and MRSI.
protozoal
Having to do with the simplest organisms in the animal kingdom. Protozoa are single-cell organisms, such as ameba, and are different from bacteria, which are not members of the animal kingdom. Some protozoa can be seen without a microscope.
Provenge(PROH-venj)
A vaccine made from immune system cells collected from a patient with prostate cancer. The cells are treated in the laboratory with a growth factor attached to a protein found on prostate cancer cells. Provenge injected into patients may stimulate T lymphocytes to kill tumor cells that express the prostate protein. Also called APC8015 and Sipuleucel-T.
proximal
In medicine, refers to a part of the body that is closer to the center of the body than another part. For example, the knee is proximal to the toes. The opposite is distal.
Proxinium(prok-SIH-nee-um)
A substance being studied in the treatment of certain types of head and neck cancer. Proxinium is made by linking a monoclonal antibody fragment to a toxic protein that may kill cancer cells. It binds to EpCAM (a protein on the surface of epithelial cells and some types of cancer cells). Also called anti-EpCAM-Pseudomonas-exotoxin fusion protein and VB4-845.
pruritus(proo-RY-tus)
Itching. Severe itching may be a side effect of some cancer treatments and a symptom of some types of cancers.
PS-341
A drug used to treat multiple myeloma. It is also used to treat mantle cell lymphoma in patients who have already received at least one other type of treatment and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PS-341 blocks several molecular pathways in a cell and may cause cancer cells to die. It is a type of proteasome inhibitor and a type of dipeptidyl boronic acid. Also called bortezomib and velcade.
PSA
A protein made by the prostate gland and found in the blood. PSA blood levels may be higher than normal in men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or infection or inflammation of the prostate gland. Also called prostate-specific antigen.
PSA bounce
A brief rise and then fall in the blood level of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) that occurs in some patients 1-3 years after receiving radiation treatment for prostate cancer. PSA bounce does not mean that the cancer has come back. It may be caused by the release of PSA from destroyed cancer cells or from normal prostate tissue exposed to the radiation treatment.
PSA failure(...FAYL-yer)
A rise in the blood level of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) in prostate cancer patients after treatment with surgery or radiation. PSA failure may occur in patients who do not have symptoms. It may mean that the cancer has come back. Also called biochemical recurrence and biochemical relapse.
PSA test
A laboratory test that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) found in the blood. PSA is a protein made by the prostate gland. The amount of PSA may be higher in men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or infection or inflammation of the prostate.
PSA velocity(… veh-LAH-sih-tee)
A measurement of how fast PSA levels in the blood increase over time. A high PSA velocity may be a sign of prostate cancer and may help find fast-growing prostate cancers.
psammoma body(sam-OH-muh BAH-dee)
A structure found in some benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer) tumor cells. Psammoma bodies look like hardened concentric rings when viewed under a microscope. They can be a sign of chronic inflammation.
PSC 833
A substance that is being studied for its ability to prevent or overcome the resistance of tumor cells to some anticancer drugs. It belongs to the family of drugs called cyclosporine analogs.
pseudomyxoma peritonei(SOO-doh-mix-OH-muh PAYR-ih-TOH-nee-I)
A build-up of mucus in the peritoneal cavity. The mucus may come from ruptured ovarian cysts, from the appendix, or from other abdominal tissues. Mucus-secreting cells may attach to the peritoneal lining and continue to secrete mucus.
psilocybin(SY-loh-SY-bin)
A substance being studied in the treatment of anxiety or depression in patients with advanced cancer. It is taken from the mushroom Psilocybe mexicana. Psilocybin acts on the brain to cause hallucinations (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or touches that a person believes to be real but are not real). Also called psilocybine.
psilocybine(SY-loh-SY-bin)
A substance being studied in the treatment of anxiety or depression in patients with advanced cancer. It is taken from the mushroom Psilocybe mexicana. Psilocybine acts on the brain to cause hallucinations (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or touches that a person believes to be real but are not real). Also called psilocybin.
psoralen(SOR-uh-len)
A substance from plants that is sensitive to light (or can be activated by light). Psoralens are used together with UV light to treat psoriasis, vitiligo, and skin nodules of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. They are also being studied in the treatment of graft-versus-host disease. Psoralen is a type of furocoumarin. An example of a psoralen is methoxsalen.
psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy(SOR-uh-len…UL-truh-VY-oh-let A THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of photodynamic therapy used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, vitiligo, and skin nodules of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. The patient receives psoralen (a drug that becomes active when it is exposed to light) by mouth or applied to the skin, followed by ultraviolet A radiation. Psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy may increase the risk of getting skin cancer. Also called PUVA therapy.
psoriasis
A chronic disease of the skin marked by red patches covered with white scales.
psychiatrist(sy-KY-uh-trist)
A medical doctor who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.
psychological(SY-koh-LAH-jih-kul)
Having to do with how the mind works and how thoughts and feelings affect behavior.
psychologist(sy-KAH-loh-jist)
A specialist who can talk with patients and their families about emotional and personal matters, and can help them make decisions.
psychosis(sy-KOH-sis)
A severe mental disorder in which a person loses the ability to recognize reality or relate to others. The person is not able to cope with the demands of everyday life. Symptoms include being paranoid, having false ideas about what is taking place or who one is, and seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there.
psychosocial(SY-koh-SOH-shul)
Describes the psychological, social, behavioral, and spiritual aspects of something, such as the care of people with a disease.
psychostimulant(SY-koh-STIM-yoo-lunt)
A drug that causes a sense of well-being, decreases fatigue and depression, and increases the desire to eat. These drugs can also cause mood changes and trouble with sleeping.
psychotherapy(SY-koh-THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment of mental, emotional, personality, and behavioral disorders using methods such as discussion, listening, and counseling. Also called talk therapy.
psyllium(SIH-lee-um)
A plant with seeds that are used as a mild laxative. The outer layer of the seeds swells when wet. This increases the size of stool and helps it pass more easily through the intestines (lower part of the digestive tract). Psyllium is a type of bulk laxative.
PT-100
A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer, including certain types of lung, pancreas, and brain cancer. PT-100 may help the immune system block the growth of cancer cells. It may also increase the growth of new blood cells. It is a type of enzyme inhibitor. Also called talabostat and talabostat mesylate.
PTC
A procedure to x-ray the hepatic and common bile ducts. A contrasting agent is injected into the liver or bile duct, and the ducts are then x-rayed to find the point of obstruction. Also called percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography.
PTCD
A procedure to drain bile to relieve pressure in the bile ducts caused by a blockage. An x-ray of the liver and bile ducts locates the blockage of bile flow. Images made by ultrasound guide placement of a stent (tube), which remains in the liver. Bile drains through the stent into the small intestine or into a collection bag outside the body. This procedure may relieve jaundice before surgery. Also called percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage.
PTEN
A protein that helps control many cell functions, including cell division and cell death. Mutations (changes) in the gene that makes PTEN are found in many types of cancer and other diseases. It is a type of tumor suppressor protein. Also called PTEN tyrosine phosphatase.
PTEN tyrosine phosphatase(…TY-ruh-seen FOS-fuh-tays)
A protein that helps control many cell functions, including cell division and cell death. Mutations (changes) in the gene that makes PTEN tyrosine phosphatase are found in many types of cancer and other diseases. It is a type of tumor suppressor protein. Also called PTEN.
PTH
A substance made by the parathyroid gland that helps the body store and use calcium. A higher-than-normal amount of PTH causes high levels of calcium in the blood and may be a sign of disease. Also called parathormone, parathyrin, and parathyroid hormone.
PTK787/ZK 222584
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors and VEGF receptor kinase inhibitors. Also called vatalanib.
PTLD
A condition in which a group of B-cells grow out of control after an organ transplant in patients with weakened immune systems. This usually happens if the patient has also been infected with Epstein-Barr virus. PTLD may progress to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Also called post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder.
ptosis(TOH-sis)
Drooping of the upper eyelid.
PTSD
An anxiety disorder that develops in reaction to physical injury or severe mental or emotional distress, such as military combat, violent assault, natural disaster, or other life-threatening events. Having cancer may also lead to PTSD. Symptoms interfere with day-to-day living and include reliving the event in nightmares or flashbacks; avoiding people, places, and things connected to the event; feeling alone and losing interest in daily activities; and having trouble concentrating and sleeping. Also called post-traumatic stress disorder.
puberty(PYOO-ber-tee)
The time of life when a child experiences physical and hormonal changes that mark a transition into adulthood. The child develops secondary sexual characteristics and becomes able to have children. Secondary sexual characteristics include growth of pubic, armpit, and leg hair; breast enlargement; and increased hip width in girls. In boys, they include growth of pubic, face, chest and armpit hair; voice changes; penis and testicle growth, and increased shoulder width.
pulmonary(PUL-moh-nayr-ee)
Having to do with the lungs.
pulmonary edema(PUL-muh-NAYR-ee eh-DEE-muh)
A buildup of fluid in the alveoli (air spaces) in the lungs. This keeps oxygen from getting into the blood. Pulmonary edema is usually caused by heart problems, but it can also be caused by high blood pressure, pneumonia, certain toxins and medicines, or living at a high altitude. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, and trouble exercising.
pulmonary rehabilitation education(PUL-muh-NAYR-ee REE-huh-BIH-lih-TAY-shun EH-juh-KAY-shun)
Education about behavior and lifestyle changes to help patients with chronic lung disease decrease breathing problems, return to daily activities, and improve quality of life. Education may include instruction about breathing exercises, nutrition, use of medicines, and ways for the patient to reduce stress and save energy.
pulmonary specialist(PUL-muh-NAYR-ee SPEH-shuh-list)
A doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the lungs. Also called pulmonologist.
pulmonary sulcus tumor(PUL-muh-NAYR-ee SUL-kuss TOO-mer)
A type of lung cancer that begins in the upper part of a lung and spreads to nearby tissues such as the ribs and vertebrae. Most pulmonary sulcus tumors are non-small cell cancers. Also called Pancoast tumor.
pulmonologist(PUL-muh-NAH-loh-jist)
A doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the lungs. Also called pulmonary specialist.
Pulmozyme(PUL-moh-zime)
A drug given in an aerosol mist to decrease the thickness of mucus in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis. It is also being studied as a treatment to reduce the thickness of saliva in patients being treated for head and neck cancer. Pulmozyme contains an enzyme that breaks the DNA in mucus into small pieces and makes the mucus thinner. Also called dornase alfa inhalation solution.
pump(pump)
A device that is used to give a controlled amount of a liquid at a specific rate. For example, pumps are used to give drugs (such as chemotherapy or pain medicine) or nutrients.
punch biopsy(... BY-op-see)
Removal of a small disk-shaped sample of tissue using a sharp, hollow device. The tissue is then examined under a microscope.
pupil(PYOO-pil)
The round opening in the center of the iris (the colored tissue that makes the "eye color" at the front of the eye). The pupil changes size to let light into the eye. It gets smaller in bright light and larger as the amount of light decreases.
purine(PYOOR-een)
One of two chemical compounds that cells use to make the building blocks of DNA and RNA. Examples of purines are adenine and guanine. Purines are also found in meat and meat products. They are broken down by the body to form uric acid, which is passed in the urine. High levels of uric acid in the body may cause gout.
Purinethol(PYUR-in-thall)
A drug used to treat acute lymphatic leukemia. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. Also called mercaptopurine.
purple clover
Trifolium pratense. A plant with flowers that has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It is being studied in the relief of menopausal symptoms and may have anticancer effects. Also called red clover, Trifolium pratense, and wild clover.
purple coneflower(...KONE-flow-er)
An herb native to North America that has been used to prevent and treat the common cold and other respiratory infections. Purple coneflower may interfere with treatment that uses the immune system to fight cancer. The scientific names are Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia. Also called echinacea.
PUVA therapy(...THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of photodynamic therapy used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, vitiligo, and skin nodules of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. The patient receives psoralen (a drug that becomes active when it is exposed to light) by mouth or applied to the skin, followed by ultraviolet A radiation. PUVA therapy may increase the risk of getting skin cancer. Also called psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy.
PV701
A virus that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of viruses that cause Newcastle disease in birds.
PXD101
A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. PXD101 blocks enzymes needed for cell division and may kill cancer cells. It also prevents the growth of blood vessels needed for tumors to grow and may make tumor cells more sensitive to other anticancer drugs. It is a type of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, a type of angiogenesis inhibitor, and a type of chemosensitizer. Also called belinostat.
pyrazine diazohydroxide
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.
pyrazoloacridine
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called acridines.
pyridoxine(PEER-ih-DOK-seen)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Pyridoxine helps keep nerves and skin healthy, fight infections, keep blood sugar levels normal, produce red blood cells, and some enzymes work properly. Pyridoxine is a group of related compounds (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine) found in cereals, beans, peas, nuts, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and bananas. It is water-soluble (can dissolve in water). Not enough pyridoxine can cause mouth and tongue sores and nervous disorders. Pyridoxine is being studied in the prevention of hand-foot syndrome (a disorder caused by certain anticancer drugs and marked by pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or redness of the hands or feet). Also called vitamin B6.
pyrimidine(puh-RIH-mih-deen)
One of two chemical compounds that cells use to make the building blocks of DNA and RNA. Examples of pyrimidines are cytosine, thymine, and uracil. Cytosine and thymine are used to make DNA and cytosine and uracil are used to make RNA.
pyroxamide(py-ROX-uh-mide)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 460 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: jamesline@osumc.edu