NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,812 terms related to cancer and medicine.

Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.

retrovirus
(REH-troh-VY-rus)
A type of virus that has RNA instead of DNA as its genetic material. It uses an enzyme called reverse transcriptase to become part of the host cells’ DNA. This allows many copies of the virus to be made in the host cells. The virus that causes AIDS, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is a type of retrovirus.