Cancer Term Glossary

VACB
A procedure in which a small sample of tissue is removed from the breast. An imaging device is used to guide a hollow probe connected to a vacuum device. The probe is inserted through a tiny cut made in numbed skin on the breast. The tissue sample is removed using gentle vacuum suction and a small rotating knife within the probe. Then the tissue sample is studied under a microscope to check for signs of disease. This procedure causes very little scarring and no stitches are needed. Also called vacuum-assisted biopsy and vacuum-assisted core biopsy.
vaccinated
Treated with a vaccine.
vaccination
Treatment with a vaccine.
vaccine
A substance or group of substances meant to cause the immune system to respond to a tumor or to microorganisms, such as bacteria or viruses. A vaccine can help the body recognize and destroy cancer cells or microorganisms.
vaccine adjuvant
A substance added to a vaccine to improve the immune response so that less vaccine is needed.
vaccine therapy(vak-SEEN THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of treatment that uses a substance or group of substances to stimulate the immune system to destroy a tumor or infectious microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses.
vaccinia CEA vaccine(vak-SIN-ee-uh …. vak-SEEN)
A vaccine made by putting the gene for carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) into the vaccinia virus. The vaccinia virus is related to the virus used to make the smallpox vaccine. CEA is a tumor marker. The vaccinia CEA vaccine may help the immune system recognize and kill cancer cells that make CEA.
vaccinia-TRICOM vaccine(vak-SIH-nee-uh…vak-SEEN)
A cancer vaccine made with a form of a 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 that may help immune cells in the body kill tumor cells. Also called recombinant vaccinia-TRICOM vaccine and rV-TRICOM.
vacuum aspiration(VAK-yoom as-per-AY-shun)
A surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated (opened) and vacuum is used to remove tissue from the uterus. Also called suction aspiration and suction evacuation.
vacuum-assisted biopsy(VA-kyoom-uh-SIS-ted BY-op-see)
A procedure in which a small sample of tissue is removed from the breast. An imaging device is used to guide a hollow probe connected to a vacuum device. The probe is inserted through a tiny cut made in numbed skin on the breast. The tissue sample is removed using gentle vacuum suction and a small rotating knife within the probe. Then the tissue sample is studied under a microscope to check for signs of disease. This procedure causes very little scarring and no stitches are needed. Also called VACB and vacuum-assisted core biopsy.
vacuum-assisted core biopsy(VA-kyoom-uh-SIS-tud … BY-op-see)
A procedure in which a small sample of tissue is removed from the breast. An imaging device is used to guide a hollow probe connected to a vacuum device. The probe is inserted through a tiny cut made in numbed skin on the breast. The tissue sample is removed using gentle vacuum suction and a small rotating knife within the probe. Then the tissue sample is studied under a microscope to check for signs of disease. This procedure causes very little scarring and no stitches are needed. Also called VACB and vacuum-assisted biopsy.
vagina(vuh-JY-nuh)
The muscular canal extending from the uterus to the exterior of the body. Also called birth canal.
vaginal(VA-jih-nul)
Having to do with the vagina (the birth canal).
vaginal cancer(VA-jih-nul KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in the tissues of the vagina (birth canal). The vagina leads from the cervix (the opening of the uterus) to the outside of the body. The most common type of vaginal cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, which starts in the thin, flat cells lining the vagina. Another type of vaginal cancer is adenocarcinoma, cancer that begins in glandular cells in the lining of the vagina.
vaginal dilation therapy(VA-jih-nul DY-LAY-shun THAYR-uh-pee)
A method used to prevent the closing of the vagina (the birth canal) after radiation therapy to the pelvis. The patient puts a dilator (tube-like device) coated with an oily or slippery substance into her vagina.
vaginectomy(va-jih-NEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part or all of the vagina (the birth canal).
valacyclovir
A substance that is being studied in the prevention of fungal, bacterial, and viral infections in patients undergoing donor stem cell transplantation with cells that are infected with cytomegalovirus. It belongs to the family of drugs called antivirals.
valdecoxib
A substance that is being studied as a treatment for pain and other side effects of cancer therapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called COX-2 inhibitors.
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, Pacific valerian, Valeriana officinalis, and Valerianae radix.
Valeriana officinalis
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, Pacific valerian, valerian, and Valerianae radix.
Valerianae radix
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, Pacific valerian, valerian, and Valeriana officinalis.
valganciclovir
An antiviral agent that is being studied as a treatment for AIDS-related cytomegalovirus. It is changed in the body to ganciclovir.
Valium(VAL-ee-um)
A drug used to treat mild to moderate anxiety and tension and to relax muscles. It is a type of benzodiazepine. Also called diazepam.
valproic acid(val-PROH-ik A-sid)
A drug used to treat epileptic seizures and bipolar disorder and to prevent migraine headaches. It is also being studied in the treatment of Kaposi sarcoma. It is a type of anticonvulsant, antimaniacal, and migraine headache prophylactic. Also called Depakene and Stavzor.
valrubicin(val-ROO-bih-SIN)
A drug used to treat bladder cancer that does not respond to BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin). It is an anthracycline and is a type of antitumor antibiotic. Also called AD 32.
vancomycin
An antibiotic drug used to fight resistant bacterial infections.
vandetanib(van-DEH-tuh-nib)
A substance being studied in the treatment of lung cancer and other types of cancer. It may block the growth and spread of tumor cells and prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. Vandetanib is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called Zactima.
vapreotide
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called somatostatin analogs.
varenicline tartrate(vuh-REN-ih-klin TAR-trayt)
A drug used to help people stop smoking by acting the same way nicotine acts in the brain. It is a type of nicotine receptor partial agonist. Also called Chantix.
variable expression
Variation in the manner in which a trait is manifested. When there is variable expressivity, the trait may vary in clinical expression from mild to severe. For example, the condition neurofibromatosis type 1 may be mild, presenting with café-au-lait spots only, or may be severe, presenting with neurofibromas and brain tumors.
variant of uncertain significance
A variation in a genetic sequence whose association with disease risk is unknown. Also called unclassified variant, variant of unknown significance, and VUS.
variant of unknown significance
A variation in a genetic sequence whose association with disease risk is unknown. Also called unclassified variant, variant of uncertain significance, and VUS.
varicose vein(VA-rih-kose VAYN)
A condition in which a vein, most often in the legs, becomes permanently enlarged, twisted, and painful. This may be caused by valves in the vein that don’t work properly or by weakness in the vein walls.
VAS
A tool used to help a person rate the intensity of certain sensations and feelings, such as pain. The visual analog scale for pain is a straight line with one end meaning no pain and the other end meaning the worst pain imaginable. A patient marks a point on the line that matches the amount of pain he or she feels. It may be used to help choose the right dose of pain medicine. Also called visual analog scale.
vas deferens(VAS DEH-feh-RENZ)
A coiled tube that carries the sperm out of the testes.
vascular endothelial growth factor(VAS-kyoo-ler EN-doh-THEE-lee-ul grothe FAK-ter)
A substance made by cells that stimulates new blood vessel formation. Also called VEGF.
vascular endothelial growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor(VAS-kyoo-ler EN-doh-THEE-lee-ul grohth FAK-ter reh-SEP-ter TY-ruh-seen KY-nayz in-HIH-bih-ter)
A substance that blocks an enzyme needed to form blood vessels. Also called VEGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor.
vascular endothelial growth factor trap(VAS-kyoo-ler EN-doh-THEE-lee-ul grothe FAK-ter ...)
A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. Vascular endothelial growth factor trap blocks the action of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called aflibercept and VEGF Trap.
vascular endothelial growth factor-antisense oligonucleotide(VAS-kyoo-ler EN-doh-THEE-lee-ul grohth FAK-ter AN-tee-sents AH-lih-goh-NOO-klee-oh-TIDE)
A substance that has been studied in the treatment of cancer. It binds to the RNA for a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. Vascular endothelial growth factor-antisense oligonucleotide blocks the cell’s ability to make VEGF, which may kill tumors that need new blood vessels to grow. It is a type of antisense oligonucleotide and a type of gene expression inhibitor. Also called VEGF-AS.
vasectomy(va-SEK-toh-mee)
An operation to cut or tie off the two tubes that carry sperm out of the testicles.
vasomotor
Affecting the narrowing and widening of the blood vessels.
vatalanib
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 PTK787/ZK 222584.
VB4-845
A substance being studied in the treatment of certain types of head and neck cancer. VB4-845 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 Proxinium.
Vectibix(VEK-tih-bix)
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. Vectibix binds to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and may block tumor cell growth. Also called ABX-EGF and panitumumab.
vegan(VEE-gun)
A person who does not eat any foods that come from animals, including meat, eggs, and dairy products. A vegan diet is being studied in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer and other medical conditions.
VEGF
A substance made by cells that stimulates new blood vessel formation. Also called vascular endothelial growth factor.
VEGF Trap
A substance being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer. VEGF Trap blocks the action of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called aflibercept and vascular endothelial growth factor trap.
VEGF-AS
A substance that has been studied in the treatment of cancer. It binds to the RNA for a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. VEGF-AS blocks the cell’s ability to make VEGF, which may kill tumors that need new blood vessels to grow. It is a type of antisense oligonucleotide and a type of gene expression inhibitor. Also called vascular endothelial growth factor-antisense oligonucleotide.
VEGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor(VEGFR TY-ruh-seen KY-nayz in-HIH-bih-ter)
A substance that blocks an enzyme needed to form blood vessels. Also called vascular endothelial growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor.
VEGFR-2 inhibitor CT-322(... in-HIH-bih-ter ...)
A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. VEGFR-2 inhibitor CT-322 may prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called Angiocept and CT-322.
vein(vayn)
A blood vessel that carries blood to the heart from tissues and organs in the body.
velafermin(vel-uh-FER-min)
A substance that is being studied in the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis (sores in the mouth) in patients receiving high-dose chemotherapy. Velafermin belongs to the family of drugs called recombinant human fibroblast growth factors (rhFGF).
Velban(VEL-bun)
A drug used together with other drugs to treat several types of cancer, including advanced Hodgkin lymphoma and advanced testicular germinal-cell cancers. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Velban comes from the periwinkle plant Vinca rosea Linn. It blocks cell growth by stopping cell division and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of vinca alkaloid and a type of antimitotic agent. Also called vinblastine sulfate.
velcade(VEL-kayd)
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. Velcade 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 PS-341.
venipuncture
The puncture of a vein with a needle for the purpose of drawing blood. Also called phlebotomy.
venlafaxine
An antidepressant drug that is being evaluated for the treatment of hot flashes in women who have breast cancer.
venography(veh-NAH-gruh-fee)
A procedure in which an x-ray of the veins is taken after a special dye is injected into the bone marrow or veins.
venous sampling(VEE-nus...)
A procedure in which a sample of blood is taken from a certain vein and checked for specific substances released by nearby organs and tissues. A higher than normal amount of a substance can be a sign of disease in the organ or tissue that makes it.
ventilator
In medicine, a machine used to help a patient breathe. Also called respirator.
ventricle(VEN-trih-kul)
A fluid-filled cavity in the heart or brain.
Vepesid(VEH-peh-sid)
A drug used to treat testicular and small cell lung cancers. It is also being studied in the treatment of several other types of cancer. Vepesid blocks certain enzymes needed for cell division and DNA repair, and it may kill cancer cells. It is a type of podophyllotoxin derivative and a type of topoisomerase inhibitor. Also called etoposide and Toposar.
Versed(ver-SED)
A drug used to treat anxiety and tension and to relax muscles. It is also being studied in the treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by some cancer treatments. It is a type of benzodiazepine. Also called midazolam and midazolam hydrochloride.
vertebral column
The bones, muscles, tendons, and other tissues that reach from the base of the skull to the tailbone. The vertebral column encloses the spinal cord and the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. Also called backbone, spinal column, and spine.
vertebroplasty(VER-teh-broh-PLAS-tee)
A procedure used to repair a bone in the spine that has a break caused by cancer, osteoporosis (a decrease in bone mass and density), or trauma. Bone cement is injected into the broken bone to make it stronger.
Vesanoid
An oral preparation of tretinoin that is used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia, usually together with other drugs. It is being studied in the treatment and prevention of other types of cancer. Tretinoin is a form of vitamin A.
vesicle(VEH-sih-kul)
A small sac formed by a membrane and filled with liquid. Vesicles inside cells move substances into or out of the cell. Vesicles made in the laboratory can be used to carry drugs to cells in the body.
VHL syndrome
A rare inherited disorder in which blood vessels grow abnormally in the eyes, brain, spinal cord, adrenal glands, or other parts of the body. People with VHL syndrome have a higher risk of developing some types of cancer. Also called von Hippel-Lindau syndrome.
Viadur(VY-uh-door)
A drug used to treat symptoms of advanced prostate cancer. It is also being studied in the treatment of other conditions and types of cancer. The active ingredient leuprolide blocks the body from making testosterone (a male hormone) and estradiol (a female hormone). It may stop the growth of prostate cancer cells that need testosterone to grow. Some brands of leuprolide are also used to treat early puberty in children and certain gynecologic conditions. Viadur is a type of gonadotropin-releasing hormone analog. Also called Eligard, leuprolide acetate, and Lupron.
Viagra
A drug used to treat erectile dysfunction. Viagra relaxes the smooth muscle of the penis to allow increased blood flow and erection. It is a type of phosphodiesterase inhibitor. Also called sildenafil.
vibro-acoustography imaging(VY-broh-uh-koos-TAH-gruh-fee IH-muh-jing)
A technique being studied in the diagnosis of breast cancer and other types of cancer. Vibro-acoustography imaging uses ultrasound (high-energy sound waves) to cause tissues to vibrate. The sound made by the vibrating tissues is picked up by a microphone and is used to make an image of the object on a computer. Cancer tissue can be seen because it is denser and vibrates at a different rate than normal tissue.
Vidaza(Vih-DAY-zuh)
A drug that is used to treat myelodysplastic syndromes and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antimetabolites. Also called azacitidine and Mylosar.
video-assisted resection(VIH-dee-oh-uh-SIS-ted ree-SEK-shun)
Surgery that is aided by the use of a video camera that projects and enlarges the image on a television screen. Also called video-assisted surgery.
video-assisted surgery(VIH-dee-oh-uh-SIS-ted SER-juh-ree)
Surgery that is aided by the use of a video camera that projects and enlarges the image on a television screen. Also called video-assisted resection.
villous adenoma(VIH-lus A-deh-NOH-muh)
A type of polyp that grows in the colon and other places in the gastrointestinal tract and sometimes in other parts of the body. These adenomas may become malignant (cancer).
villus
A tiny hair-like projection, often on the surface of mucous membranes. The plural is villi.
vinblastine(vin-BLAS-teen)
The active ingredient in a drug used together with other drugs to treat several types of cancer, including advanced Hodgkin lymphoma and advanced testicular germinal-cell cancers. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Vinblastine comes from the periwinkle plant Vinca rosea Linn. It blocks cell growth by stopping cell division and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of vinca alkaloid and a type of antimitotic agent.
vinblastine sulfate(vin-BLAS-teen SUL-fayt)
A drug used together with other drugs to treat several types of cancer, including advanced Hodgkin lymphoma and advanced testicular germinal-cell cancers. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Vinblastine sulfate comes from the periwinkle plant Vinca rosea Linn. It blocks cell growth by stopping cell division and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of vinca alkaloid and a type of antimitotic agent. Also called Velban.
vinca alkaloid
A type of drug that blocks cell growth by stopping mitosis (cell division). Vinca alkaloids interfere with microtubules (cellular structures that help move chromosomes during mitosis). They are used to treat cancer. A vinca alkaloid is a type of mitotic inhibitor and antimicrotubule agent.
vincristine(vin-KRIS-teen)
The active ingredient in a drug used to treat acute leukemia. It is used in combination with other drugs to treat Hodgkin disease, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, neuroblastoma, and Wilms tumor. Vincristine is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks cell growth by stopping cell division. It is a type of vinca alkaloid and a type of antimitotic agent.
vincristine sulfate(vin-KRIS-teen SUL-fayt)
A drug used to treat acute leukemia. It is used in combination with other drugs to treat Hodgkin disease, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, neuroblastoma, and Wilms tumor. Vincristine sulfate is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It blocks cell growth by stopping cell division. It is a type of vinca alkaloid and a type of antimitotic agent. Also called Oncovin.
vindesine
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of plant drugs called vinca alkaloids.
vinflunine(VIN-floo-neen)
A substance being studied in the treatment of bladder cancer, lung cancer, and other types of cancer. Also called Javlor.
vinorelbine
An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of plant drugs called vinca alkaloids.
vinyl chloride(VINE-uhl KLOR-ide)
A substance used to make plastics. Exposure to vinyl chloride may increase the risk of developing liver, brain, and lung cancers; lymphoma; and leukemia.
Vioxx(VY-ox)
A drug that was being used for pain relief and was being studied for its ability to prevent cancer and to prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Vioxx was taken off the market in the U.S. because of safety concerns. Also called rofecoxib.
viral
Having to do with a virus.
viral oncolysate(VY-rul on-KOL-ih-sate)
An extract made from cancer cells that are infected with a strain of virus that can lyse (break down) cancer cells. The extract contains both cancer cell proteins and virus proteins. Viral oncolysates are being studied as cancer vaccines.
viral therapy(VY-rul THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment using a virus that has been changed in the laboratory to find and destroy cancer cells without harming healthy cells. It is a type of targeted therapy. Also called oncolytic virotherapy, oncolytic virus therapy, and virotherapy.
viral vector(VY-rul VEK-tur)
A type of virus used in cancer therapy. The virus is changed in the laboratory and cannot cause disease. Viral vectors may produce tumor antigens (proteins found on a tumor cell) to stimulate an antitumor immune response in the body. Viral vectors may also be used to carry genes that can change cancer cells back to normal cells.
virotherapy(VY-roh-THAYR-uh-pee)
Treatment using a virus that has been changed in the laboratory to find and destroy cancer cells without harming healthy cells. It is a type of targeted therapy. Also called oncolytic virotherapy, oncolytic virus therapy, and viral therapy.
virtual colonoscopy(...KOH-luh-NOS-koh-pee)
A method to examine the inside of the colon by taking a series of x-rays. A computer is used to make 2-dimensional (2-D) and 3-D pictures of the colon from these x-rays. The pictures can be saved, changed to give better viewing angles, and reviewed after the procedure, even years later. Also called computed tomographic colonography, computed tomography colonography, CT colonography, and CTC.
virulence
The ability of a microorganism to cause damage to its host.
virulent
Refers to the ability of a virus or a bacterium to cause damage to its host.
Virulizin
A substance that activates some types of immune system cells, and is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called biological therapy agents.
virus(VY-rus)
In medicine, a very simple microorganism that infects cells and may cause disease. Because viruses can multiply only inside infected cells, they are not considered to be alive.
virus replication cycle(VY-rus reh-plih-KAY-shun...)
The reproduction cycle of viruses. A replication cycle begins with the infection of a host cell and ends with the release of mature progeny virus particles.
virus-neutralizing antibody(VY-rus-NOO-truh-LY-zing AN-tee-BAH-dee)
An antibody that binds to a virus and interferes with its ability to infect a cell.
viscera
The soft internal organs of the body, including the lungs, the heart, and the organs of the digestive, excretory, and reproductive systems.
visceral
Having to do with the viscera, which are the soft internal organs of the body, including the lungs, the heart, and the organs of the digestive, excretory, reproductive, and circulatory systems.
visceral peritoneum(VIH-suh-rul PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-um)
The layers of tissue that cover the outer surface of most organs in the abdomen, including the intestines.
viscotoxin(VIS-koh-TOK-sin)
A member of a group of small proteins produced by mistletoe plants that are able to kill cells and may stimulate the immune system.
visilizumab
A monoclonal antibody that binds to CD3 (a substance found on T-cells) and that is being studied as a treatment for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). It belongs to the family of drugs called monoclonal antibodies.
visual analog scale(VIH-zhoo-ul A-nuh-log skayl)
A tool used to help a person rate the intensity of certain sensations and feelings, such as pain. The visual analog scale for pain is a straight line with one end meaning no pain and the other end meaning the worst pain imaginable. A patient marks a point on the line that matches the amount of pain he or she feels. It may be used to help choose the right dose of pain medicine. Also called VAS.
visual pathway glioma(VIH-zhoo-ul ... glee-OH-muh)
A rare, slow-growing tumor that usually forms in the optic nerve, optic chiasm, or optic tract. These are parts of the nervous system that carry messages from the eye to the brain. Also called optic pathway glioma.
vital
Necessary to maintain life. Breathing is a vital function.
vitamin(VY-tuh-min)
A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Sources of vitamins are plant and animal food products and dietary supplements. Some vitamins are made in the human body from food products. Vitamins are either fat-soluble (can dissolve in fats and oils) or water-soluble (can dissolve in water). Excess fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s fatty tissue, but excess water-soluble vitamins are removed in the urine. Examples are vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
vitamin A(VY-tuh-min …)
A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin A helps in vision, bone growth, reproduction, growth of epithelium (cells that line the internal and external surfaces of the body), and fighting infections. It is fat-soluble (can dissolve in fats and oils). Vitamin A is found in liver, egg yolks, and whole milk dairy products from animals and in fish oils. It can also be made in the body from a substance found in some fruits and vegetables, such as cantaloupes, carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes. Vitamin A is being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer. Also called retinol.
vitamin A acid(VY-tuh-min...A-sid)
A nutrient that that body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin A acid is made in the body from vitamin A and helps cells to grow and develop, especially in the embryo. A form of vitamin A acid made in the laboratory is put on the skin to treat conditions such as acne and is taken by mouth to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (a fast-growing cancer in which there are too many immature blood-forming cells in the blood and bone marrow). Vitamin A acid is being studied in the prevention and treatment of other types of cancer. Also called all-trans retinoic acid, ATRA, retinoic acid, and tretinoin.
vitamin B complex(VY-tuh-min ... KOM-plex)
A compound containing several or all of a group of vitamins and nutrients that the body needs in very small amounts to function and stay healthy. The B vitamins in the vitamin B complex include thiamine, riboflavin, niacin (nicotinic acid), niacinamide (nicotinamide), the vitamin B6 group (including pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine), biotin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, and vitamin B12. Aminobenzoic acid, inositol, and choline are sometimes included as part of the vitamin B complex. The vitamin B complex is water-soluble (can dissolve in water) and is found in yeast, seeds, eggs, liver, meat, and vegetables. Members of the vitamin B complex are being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer.
vitamin B1(VY-tuh-min ...)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin B1 helps some enzymes work properly, helps break down sugars in the diet, and keeps nerves and the heart healthy. It is found in pork, organ meats, peas, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Vitamin B1 is water-soluble (can dissolve in water) and must be taken in daily. Not enough vitamin B1 can cause a disease called beriberi (a condition marked by heart, nerve, and digestive disorders). Too much vitamin B1 may help cancer cells grow faster. Also called thiamine.
vitamin B12(VY-tuh-min ...)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin B12 helps make red blood cells, DNA, RNA, energy, and tissues, and keeps nerve cells healthy. It is found in liver, meat, eggs, poultry, shellfish, milk, and milk products. Vitamin B12 is water-soluble (can dissolve in water) and must be taken in every day. Not enough vitamin B12 can cause certain types of anemia (a condition in which the number of red blood cells is below normal) and neurologic disorders. It is being studied with folate in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer. Also called cobalamin and cyanocobalamin.
vitamin B2(VY-tuh-min ...)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin B2 helps make red blood cells, helps some enzymes work properly, and keeps skin, nails, and hair healthy. It is found in milk, eggs, malted barley, organ meats, yeast, and leafy vegetables. Vitamin B2 is water-soluble (can dissolve in water) and must be taken in every day. Not enough vitamin B2 can cause anemia (a low number of red blood cells), mouth sores, and skin problems. Amounts of vitamin B2 may be higher in the blood of patients with some types of cancer. Also called riboflavin.
vitamin B3(VY-tuh-min …)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin B3 helps some enzymes work properly and helps skin, nerves, and the digestive tract stay healthy. Vitamin B3 is found in many plant and animal products. It is water-soluble (can dissolve in water) and must be taken in every day. Not enough vitamin B3 can cause a disease called pellagra (a condition marked by skin, nerve, and digestive disorders). A form of vitamin B3 is being studied in the prevention of skin and other types of cancer. Vitamin B3 may help to lower blood cholesterol. Also called niacin and nicotinic acid.
vitamin B5(VY-tuh-min...)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin B5 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. Vitamin B5 is water-soluble (can dissolve in water) and must be taken in every day. Also called pantothenic acid.
vitamin B6(VY-tuh-min…)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin B6 helps keep nerves and skin healthy, fight infections, keep blood sugar levels normal, produce red blood cells, and some enzymes work properly. Vitamin B6 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 vitamin B6 can cause mouth and tongue sores and nervous disorders. Vitamin B6 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 pyridoxine.
vitamin C(VY-tuh-min…)
A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin C helps fight infections, heal wounds, and keep tissues healthy. It is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage caused by free radicals (highly reactive chemicals). Vitamin C is found in all fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupe, green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, leafy greens, and potatoes. It is water-soluble (can dissolve in water) and must be taken in every day. Vitamin C is being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer. Also called ascorbic acid.
vitamin D(VY-tuh-min ...)
A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin D helps the body use calcium and phosphorus to make strong bones and teeth. It is fat-soluble (can dissolve in fats and oils) and is found in fatty fish, egg yolks, and dairy products. Skin exposed to sunshine can also make vitamin D. Not enough vitamin D can cause a bone disease called rickets. It is being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer. Also called cholecalciferol.
vitamin D2(VY-tuh-min …)
A form of vitamin D that helps the body use calcium and phosphorus to make strong bones and teeth. It is fat-soluble (can dissolve in fats and oils) and is found in plants and yeast. It can be made in the body from another form of vitamin D when the body is exposed to the sun. Vitamin D2 is also made in the laboratory. It is used to prevent and to treat vitamin D deficiency. It is a type of dietary supplement. Also called ergocalciferol.
vitamin E(VY-tuh-min ...)
A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin E helps prevent cell damage caused by free radicals (highly reactive chemicals). It is fat-soluble (can dissolve in fats and oils) and is found in seeds, nuts, leafy vegetables, and vegetable oils. Not enough vitamin E can result in infertility (the inability to produce children). It is being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer. Vitamin E is a type of antioxidant.
vitamin H(VY-tuh-min …)
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin H helps some enzymes break down substances in the body for energy and helps tissues develop. It is found in yeast, whole milk, egg yolks, and organ meats. Vitamin H is water-soluble (can dissolve in water) and must be taken in every day. Not enough vitamin H can cause skin, nerve, and eye disorders. Vitamin H is present in larger amounts in some cancer tissue than in normal tissue. Attaching vitamin H to substances used to treat some types of cancer helps them find cancer cells. Also called biotin.
vitamin K(VY-tuh-min ...)
A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin K helps to form blood clots (a mass that forms when blood platelets, proteins, and cells stick together) and maintain strong bones. It is fat-soluble (can dissolve in fats and oils) and is found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, liver, and vegetable oils. Vitamin K is also made by bacteria that live in the large intestine. Not enough vitamin K can lead to bleeding and bruising. It is a type of phylloquinone.
vitamin Q10(VY-tuh-min ...)
A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin Q10 helps mitochondria (small structures in the cell) make energy. It is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage caused by free radicals (highly reactive chemicals). Vitamin Q10 is fat-soluble (can dissolve in fats and oils) and is found in fatty fish, beef, soybeans, peanuts, and spinach. It is being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer and heart disease and in the relief of side effects caused by some cancer treatments. Also called coenzyme Q10, CoQ10, Q10, and ubiquinone.
vitreous humor(VIH-tree-us HYOO-mer)
The clear jelly-like substance that fills the inside of the eyeball. As a person ages, the vitreous humor becomes more liquid.
Vivitrol(VIH-vih-trol)
A drug that blocks the action of opiates (drugs used to treat pain). It may be used in the treatment of intravenous opiate addiction or alcohol dependence. Vivitrol is also being studied in the treatment of breast cancer. It may block the effects of the hormone estrogen, which causes some breast cancer cells to grow, or block the blood flow to tumors. It is a type of opiate antagonist. Also called naltrexone, naltrexone hydrochloride, and ReVia.
VNP20009
A genetically modified Salmonella bacterium that is injected into the tumor. It is being studied for its ability to shrink solid tumors.
VNP40101M
A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.
vocal cord(VOH-kul kord)
One of two small bands of muscle within the larynx that vibrates to produce the voice.
voice box
The area of the throat containing the vocal cords and used for breathing, swallowing, and talking. Also called larynx.
volociximab(voh-loh-SIK-sih-mab)
A monoclonal antibody that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to substances in the body, including cancer cells. Volociximab binds to a protein that is found on cells that line some tumor blood vessels. It is a type of angiogenesis inhibitor. Also called M200.
Voltaren(vol-TAYR-en)
A drug that is used to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and is being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of skin cancer. It blocks substances that cause inflammation and pain. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of cyclooxygenase inhibitor, a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called diclofenac sodium.
Voltaren gel(vol-TAYR-en JEL)
The gel form of a drug that is used to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and is being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of skin cancer. It blocks substances that cause inflammation and pain. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of cyclooxygenase inhibitor, a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called diclofenac sodium gel.
vomit
To eject some or all of the contents of the stomach through the mouth.
von Hippel-Lindau syndrome
A rare inherited disorder in which blood vessels grow abnormally in the eyes, brain, spinal cord, adrenal glands, or other parts of the body. People with von Hippel-Lindau syndrome have a higher risk of developing some types of cancer. Also called VHL syndrome.
voriconazole
A drug that treats infections caused by fungi.
vorinostat(vor-IN-oh-stat)
A drug that is used to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma that does not get better, gets worse, or comes back during or after treatment with other drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Vorinostat is a type of histone deacetylase inhibitor. Also called SAHA, suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid, and Zolinza.
vorozole
A hormone therapy drug used to decrease the production of estrogen.
Votrient(VOH-tree-ent)
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 pazopanib hydrochloride.
vulva
The external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips, and the opening to the vagina.
vulvar cancer
Cancer of the vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips, and the opening to the vagina).
VUS
A variation in a genetic sequence whose association with disease risk is unknown. Also called unclassified variant, variant of uncertain significance, and variant of unknown significance.
VX 853
A drug being studied to make cancer cells less resistant to the effects of chemotherapy.
VX-710
A drug being studied to make cancer cells less resistant to the effects of chemotherapy.

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