NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 8,547 terms related to cancer and medicine.

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26 results found for: gene
The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.
gene amplification
(jeen AM-plih-fih-KAY-shun)
An increase in the number of copies of a gene. There may also be an increase in the RNA and protein made from that gene. Gene amplification is common in cancer cells, and some amplified genes may cause cancer cells to grow or become resistant to anticancer drugs. Genes may also be amplified in the laboratory for research purposes.
gene deletion
(jeen deh-LEE-shun)
The loss of all or a part of a gene. There may also be a change in the RNA and protein made from that gene. Certain gene deletions are found in cancer and in other genetic diseases and abnormalities.
gene expression
(jeen ek-SPREH-shun)
The process by which a gene gets turned on in a cell to make RNA and proteins. Gene expression may be measured by looking at the RNA, or the protein made from the RNA, or what the protein does in a cell.
gene expression profile
(jeen ek-SPREH-shun PROH-file)
A laboratory method that identifies all of the genes in a cell or tissue that are making messenger RNA. Messenger RNA molecules carry the genetic information that is needed to make proteins from the DNA in the nucleus of the cell to the cytoplasm where the proteins are made. A gene expression profile may be used to find and diagnose a disease or condition or to see how well the body responds to treatment.
gene signature
(jeen SIG-nuh-cher)
Information about the activity of a specific group of genes in a cell or tissue. In cancer, gene signatures can show how likely certain types of cancer are to grow and spread in the body or how likely they are to recur (come back). A gene signature may be used to help diagnose diseases, such as cancer, plan treatment, find out how well treatment is working, and make a prognosis.
gene therapy
(jeen THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of experimental treatment in which foreign genetic material (DNA or RNA) is inserted into a person's cells to prevent or fight disease. Gene therapy is being studied in the treatment of certain types of cancer.
gene transfer
(jeen TRANZ-fer)
The insertion of genetic material into a cell.
Cells that have been altered to contain different genetic material than they originally contained.
general anesthesia
(JEH-neh-rul A-nes-THEE-zhuh)
A temporary loss of feeling and a complete loss of awareness that feels like a very deep sleep. It is caused by special drugs or other substances called anesthetics. General anesthesia keeps patients from feeling pain during surgery or other procedures.
general surgery
(JEH-neh-rul SER-juh-ree)
The branch of surgery that covers the main areas of surgical treatment. General surgeons treat diseases of the abdomen, breast, head and neck, blood vessels, and digestive tract. They also manage care of patients who have been injured or who have deformities or other conditions that need surgery.
generalized anxiety disorder
(JEH-neh-ruh-lized ang-ZY-eh-tee dis-OR-der)
A condition marked by excessive worry and feelings of fear, dread, and uneasiness that last six months or longer. Other symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include being restless, being tired or irritable, muscle tension, not being able to concentrate or sleep well, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, sweating, and dizziness. Also called GAD.
Official nonbrand names by which medicines are known. Generic names usually refer to the chemical name of the drug.
Having to do with genes. Most genes are sequences of DNA that contain information for making specific RNA molecules or proteins that perform important functions in a cell. The information in genes is passed down from parent to child. Sometimes, certain changes in genes can affect a person’s risk of disease, such as cancer. These changes may be inherited or they may occur with age or exposure to environmental factors, such as diet, exercise, drugs, and chemicals.
genetic analysis
(jeh-NEH-tik uh-NA-lih-sis)
The study of a sample of DNA to look for mutations (changes) that may increase risk of disease or affect the way a person responds to treatment.
genetic counseling
(jeh-NEH-tik KOWN-suh-ling)
A communication process between a specially trained health professional and a person concerned about the genetic risk of disease. The person's family and personal medical history may be discussed, and counseling may lead to genetic testing.
genetic counselor
(jeh-NEH-tik KOWN-seh-ler)
A health professional who has special training in medical genetics and counseling. Genetic counselors help patients and families who have, or who may be at risk of, a genetic condition. They help patients find out their chances of having a genetic condition or of having a child or other family member with a genetic condition. They also help patients understand their options for genetic testing, including its risks and benefits. After genetic testing is done, genetic counselors help patients understand their genetic test results, including how the results can affect other family members, and provide counseling and support.
genetic infantile agranulocytosis
(jeh-NEH-tik IN-fun-TILE ay-GRAN-yoo-loh-sy-TOH-sis)
An inherited disorder in which there is a lower-than-normal number of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell that is important in fighting infections). Infants with the disorder get infections caused by bacteria, and are at an increased risk of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) or myelodysplasia (a bone marrow disorder). Also called congenital neutropenia, infantile genetic agranulocytosis, Kostmann disease, Kostmann neutropenia, and Kostmann syndrome.
genetic marker
(jeh-NEH-tik MAR-ker)
A specific sequence of DNA at a known location on a chromosome. There are many genetic markers on each chromosome. Genetic markers and genes that are close to each other on a chromosome are usually inherited (passed from parent to child) together. This may help researchers find a gene near a marker that may cause a certain disease or trait within a family. Examples of genetic markers are single polymorphism nucleotides (SNPs) and microsatellites.
genetic marker of susceptibility
(jeh-NEH-tik MAR-ker … suh-SEP-tih-BIH-lih-tee)
A specific change in a person’s DNA that makes the person more likely to develop certain diseases such as cancer.
genetic predisposition
(jeh-NEH-tik PREE-dih-spuh-ZIH-shun)
An inherited increase in the risk of developing a disease. Also called genetic susceptibility.
genetic profile
(jeh-NEH-tik PROH-file)
Information about specific genes, including variations and gene expression, in an individual or in a certain type of tissue. A genetic profile may be used to help diagnose a disease or learn how the disease may progress or respond to treatment with drugs or radiation.
genetic susceptibility
(jeh-NEH-tik suh-SEP-tih-BIH-lih-tee)
An inherited increase in the risk of developing a disease. Also called genetic predisposition.
genetic testing
(jeh-NEH-tik TES-ting)
The process of analyzing cells or tissue to look for changes in genes, chromosomes, or proteins that may be a sign of a disease or condition, such as cancer. These changes may also be a sign that a person has an increased risk of developing a specific disease or condition. Genetic testing may be done on tumor tissue to help diagnose cancer, plan treatment, or find out how well treatment is working.
A scientist who has special training in the study of genes and heredity (the passing of genetic information from parents to their children). A medical geneticist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating genetic disorders or conditions. Medical geneticists also counsel individuals and families at risk for certain genetic disorders or cancers.
The study of genes and heredity. Heredity is the passing of genetic information and traits (such as eye color and an increased chance of getting a certain disease) from parents to offspring.