NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,811 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.

melanocyte
(meh-LAN-oh-site)
A cell in the skin and eyes that produces and contains the pigment called melanin.

EnlargeAnatomy of the skin with melanocytes; drawing shows normal skin anatomy, including the epidermis, dermis, hair follicles, sweat glands, hair shafts, veins, arteries, fatty tissue, nerves, lymph vessels, oil glands, and subcutaneous tissue. The pullout shows a close-up of the squamous cell and basal cell layers of the epidermis above the dermis with blood vessels. Melanin is shown in the cells. A melanocyte is shown in the layer of basal cells at the deepest part of the epidermis.

Anatomy of the skin, showing the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. Melanocytes are in the layer of basal cells at the deepest part of the epidermis.