NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 8,354 terms related to cancer and medicine.

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780 results found for: P
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.
P-32
A radioactive form of the element phosphorus used in the treatment of cancer.
p53 gene
(… jeen)
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
(puh-SIH-fik vuh-LEER-ee-un)
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
(pak yeer)
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 AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma, advanced ovarian cancer, and certain types of breast cancer. It is also used with cisplatin to treat non-small cell lung cancer in patients who cannot be treated with surgery or radiation therapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Paclitaxel 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
(PA-klih-TAK-sil al-BYOO-min-STAY-bih-lized NA-noh-PAR-tih-kul for-myoo-LAY-shun)
A drug used to treat breast cancer that has come back or spread to other parts of the body. It is also used with carboplatin to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer in patients who are not able to have surgery or radiation therapy. It is also used with gemcitabine hydrochloride to treat pancreatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation is a form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel and may cause fewer side effects than paclitaxel. It stops cancer cells from growing and dividing, and may kill them. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. 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-MAYR-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.
PAD
An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat multiple myeloma. It includes the drugs bortezomib, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and dexamethasone. Also called PAD regimen.
PAD regimen
(... REH-jih-men)
An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat multiple myeloma. It includes the drugs bortezomib, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and dexamethasone. Also called PAD.
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 condition in which abnormal cells are found in the nipple. Symptoms commonly include itching and burning and an eczema-like condition around the nipple. There may also be oozing or bleeding from the nipple.
PAH
A type of chemical formed when coal, oil, gas, garbage, tobacco, meat, and other substances are burned. These chemicals are also made for use in many products, including coal tar, creosote, roofing tar, pesticides, mothballs, dandruff shampoos, and some medicines. Being exposed to one of these chemicals over a long time may cause cancer. Also called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon.
pain flare
(payn flayr)
A sudden increase in pain that may occur in patients who already have chronic pain from cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or other conditions. A pain flare usually lasts for a short time. During a pain flare, the level of pain may be severe but the type of pain and where it is in the body are usually the same as the patient’s chronic pain. Pain flares may occur with stress, illness, and certain activities, such as exercising or coughing, or when the dose of pain medicine that the patient is taking wears off. Pain flares are usually not a symptom of a new condition or a condition that has gotten worse. Also called breakthrough pain.
pain threshold
(payn THRESH-holde)
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
(PA-luh-teen YOO-vyoo-luh)
The soft flap of tissue that hangs down at the back of the mouth (at the edge of the soft palate). Also called uvula.
palbociclib
(PAL-boh-SY-klib)
A drug used to treat hormone-receptor positive (HR+), HER2 negative (HER2-) breast cancer that is advanced or has spread to other parts of the body. It is used with fulvestrant in women whose disease has gotten worse after treatment with hormone therapy. It is used with an aromatase inhibitor in postmenopausal women who have not been treated with hormone therapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Palbociclib blocks certain proteins, which may help keep cancer cells from growing. It is a type of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor. Also called Ibrance.
palifermin
(pa-lee-FER-min)
A drug used to prevent and treat severe oral mucositis (mouth sores). It is used in patients with certain types of blood cancer who are being treated with high-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy followed by a stem cell transplant. It is also being studied in the prevention and treatment of common side effects in other types of cancer. Palifermin is form of keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) that is made in the laboratory. KGF stimulates the growth of cells in the lining of the mouth, stomach, and intestines. 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 kayr)
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 sedation
(PA-lee-uh-tiv seh-DAY-shun)
The use of special drugs called sedatives to relieve extreme suffering by making a patient calm, unaware, or unconscious. This may be done for patients who have symptoms that cannot be controlled with other treatment. Palliative sedation may be used in patients who are near the end of life to make them more comfortable. It is not meant to shorten life or cause death.
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 hydrochloride
(pa-loh-NOH-seh-tron HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It is also used to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery. Palonosetron hydrochloride blocks the action of the chemical serotonin, which binds to certain nerves and may trigger nausea and vomiting. Blocking serotonin may help lessen nausea and vomiting. Palonosetron hydrochloride 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.
Pamelor
(PA-meh-lor)
A drug used to treat depression. It may also be used to treat panic or anxiety disorders and certain types of pain, and to help people quit smoking. Pamelor increases the levels of norepinephrine and other natural chemicals in the brain. This helps improve mood and may reduce a person’s craving for nicotine. It is a type of tricyclic antidepressant. Also called Aventyl and nortriptyline.
pamidronate disodium
(puh-MIH-droh-nayt dy-SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to treat hypercalcemia (high blood levels of calcium) caused by certain types of cancer. It is also used with other anticancer drugs to treat multiple myeloma and breast cancer that has spread to bone. It is also used to treat Paget disease of the bone. Pamidronate disodium may help keep bone from breaking down and prevent the loss of calcium from the bones. It is a type of bisphosphonate. Also called Aredia.
panacea
(PA-nuh-SEE-uh)
A cure-all.
Pancoast tumor
(PAN-koste 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 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
(PAN-kree-A-tik)
Having to do with the pancreas.
pancreatic cancer
(PAN-kree-A-tik 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 islet cells (hormone-making cells) of the pancreas. Islet cells make several different hormones that affect body functions, including controlling the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood and helping digest food in the stomach. Functional pancreatic endocrine cancers make extra amounts of these hormones, which can cause symptoms. Nonfunctional pancreatic endocrine cancers do not make extra amounts of hormones, but they may cause symptoms as they grow and spread. Also called islet cell carcinoma.
pancreatic endocrine tumor
(PAN-kree-A-tik EN-doh-krin TOO-mer)
A tumor that forms in islet cells (hormone-making cells) of the pancreas. Pancreatic endocrine tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Islet cells make several different hormones that affect body functions, including controlling the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood and helping digest food in the stomach. Functional pancreatic endocrine tumors make extra amounts of these hormones, which can cause symptoms. Nonfunctional pancreatic endocrine tumors do not make extra amounts of hormones, but they may cause symptoms as they grow and spread. Also called islet cell tumor and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.
pancreatic enzyme
(PAN-kree-A-tik EN-zime)
A protein secreted by the pancreas that aids in the digestion of food.
pancreatic function test
(PAN-kree-A-tik FUNK-shun …)
A test used to measure the ability of the pancreas to respond to a hormone called secretin. Secretin causes the pancreas, liver, and stomach to release substances that help digest food. During a pancreatic function test, a tube is inserted through the nose or throat into the stomach and small intestine. Secretin is given to the patient by injection into a vein. After a certain amount of time, samples of fluid are taken from the small intestine through the tube and sent to a lab to test for a response. A pancreatic function test may be used to help diagnose problems that affect the pancreas, such as pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, and a type of pancreatic tumor called a gastrinoma. Also called secretin stimulation test.
pancreatic insulin-producing tumor
(PAN-kree-A-tik IN-suh-lin-proh-DOO-sing TOO-mer)
An abnormal mass that grows in the beta cells of the pancreas that make insulin. Pancreatic insulin-producing tumors are usually benign (not cancer). They secrete insulin and are the most common cause of low blood sugar caused by having too much insulin in the body. Also called beta cell neoplasm, beta cell tumor of the pancreas, and insulinoma.
pancreatic juice
(PAN-kree-A-tik joos)
Fluid made by the pancreas. Pancreatic juices contain proteins called enzymes that aid in digestion.
pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor
(PAN-kree-A-tik NOOR-oh-EN-doh-krin TOO-mer)
A tumor that forms in islet cells (hormone-making cells) of the pancreas. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Islet cells make several different hormones that affect body functions, including controlling the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood and helping digest food in the stomach. Functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors make extra amounts of these hormones, which can cause symptoms. Nonfunctional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors do not make extra amounts of hormones, but they may cause symptoms as they grow and spread. Also called islet cell tumor and pancreatic endocrine tumor.
pancreatic polypeptide
(PAN-kree-A-tik PAH-lee-PEP-tide)
A small protein made by the pancreas that helps control the release of other substances made by the pancreas. The amount of pancreatic polypeptide in the blood increases after a person eats. It may also increase with age, and in certain diseases, such as diabetes and pancreatic cancer. Also called PP.
pancreatic tumor
(PAN-kree-A-tik TOO-mer)
A tumor that forms in the cells of the pancreas. The two main types of pancreatic tumors are pancreatic exocrine tumors and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Most pancreatic cancers are exocrine tumors, which form in cells that make enzymes to help the body digest food. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors form in neuroendocrine pancreas cells (such as islet cells). These cells make hormones that help control sugar levels in the blood. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). They are much less common than pancreatic exocrine tumors and have a better prognosis.
pancreatitis
(PAN-kree-uh-TY-tis)
Inflammation of the pancreas. Chronic pancreatitis may cause diabetes and problems with digestion. Pain is the primary symptom.
pancreatoduodenectomy
(PAN-kree-uh-toh-DOO-ah-deh-NEK-toh-mee)
A type of surgery used to treat pancreatic cancer. The head of the pancreas, the duodenum, a portion of the stomach, and other nearby tissues are removed. Also called Whipple procedure.
panhypopituitarism
(pan-HY-poh-pih-TOO-ih-tuh-rih-zum)
A rare condition in which the pituitary gland stops making most or all hormones. Pituitary hormones help control the way many parts of the body work. Symptoms of the condition depend on the hormones that are missing. They include growth problems (in children), obesity (in adults), hair loss, slow heart rate, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, fatigue, and problems with reproduction. This condition may be caused by a tumor on or near the pituitary gland, infection, stroke, injury, surgery, or radiation therapy. It may also be inherited. Also called PHP.
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-TOO-myoo-mab)
A drug used alone or with other anticancer drugs to treat certain types of colorectal cancer that have spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients whose cancer has not already been treated or whose cancer got worse after treatment with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Panitumumab binds to a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is found on some normal cells and some types of cancer cells. Blocking this protein may help keep cancer cells from growing. Panitumumab is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called ABX-EGF and Vectibix.
panobinostat
(PA-noh-BIH-noh-stat)
A drug used with bortezomib and dexamethasone to treat multiple myeloma. It is used in patients who have already been treated with bortezomib and an immunomodulating agent. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Panobinostat blocks certain enzymes needed for cells to grow and divide and may kill cancer cells. It 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 Farydak 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
(pap smeer)
A procedure in which a small brush or spatula is used to gently remove cells from the cervix so they can be checked under a microscope for cervical cancer or cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. A Pap smear may also help find other conditions, such as infections or inflammation. It is sometimes done at the same time as a pelvic exam and may also be done at the same time as a test for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Also called Pap test and Papanicolaou test.
Pap test
A procedure in which a small brush or spatula is used to gently remove cells from the cervix so they can be checked under a microscope for cervical cancer or cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. A Pap test may also help find other conditions, such as infections or inflammation. It is sometimes done at the same time as a pelvic exam and may also be done at the same time as a test for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Also called Pap smear and Papanicolaou test.
Pap/HPV cotest
A procedure in which a human papillomavirus (HPV) test and a Pap test are done at the same time to check for cervical cancer. The HPV test looks for DNA or RNA from certain high-risk types of HPV in samples of cells taken from the cervix. The Pap test checks for cervical cancer cells and cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. The same cell sample may be used for both the HPV test and the Pap test. Women aged 30 to 65 years may have a Pap/HPV cotest every 5 years. Cotesting is more likely to find abnormal cells or cervical cancer than a Pap test alone is. Also called HPV/Pap cotest.
Papanicolaou test
(PA-puh-NIH-koh-low...)
A procedure in which a small brush or spatula is used to gently remove cells from the cervix so they can be checked under a microscope for cervical cancer or cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. A Papanicolaou test may also help find other conditions, such as infections or inflammation. It is sometimes done at the same time as a pelvic exam and may also be done at the same time as a test for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). 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 intralymphatic angioendothelioma
(PA-pih-LAYR-ee IN-truh-lim-FA-tik AN-jee-oh-EN-doh-THEE-lee-oh-muh)
A rare, slow-growing tumor of blood vessels that forms in or under the skin anywhere on the body. Papillary intralymphatic angioendotheliomas may appear as firm, raised, purplish bumps, which may be small or large. They usually do not spread to other parts of the body. Papillary intralymphatic angioendotheliomas can occur in children and adults. They are a type of vascular tumor. Also called Dabska tumor.
papillary kidney cancer
(PA-pih-LAYR-ee KID-nee KAN-ser)
A type of kidney cancer that forms in cells that line the small tubes in the kidney that filter waste from the blood and make urine. Most papillary tumors look like long, thin finger-like growths under a microscope. There are two types of papillary kidney cancer: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 tends to grow slowly and spread to other parts of the body less often than type 2. Patients with a genetic disorder called hereditary papillary renal cancer have an increased risk of type 1 papillary kidney cancer. Patients with a genetic disorder called hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer have an increased risk of type 2 papillary kidney cancer. Also called papillary renal cell carcinoma and PRCC.
papillary renal cell carcinoma
(PA-pih-LAYR-ee REE-nul sel KAR-sih-NOH-muh)
A type of kidney cancer that forms in cells that line the small tubes in the kidney that filter waste from the blood and make urine. Most papillary tumors look like long, thin finger-like growths under a microscope. There are two types of papillary renal cell carcinoma: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 tends to grow slowly and spread to other parts of the body less often than type 2. Patients with a genetic disorder called hereditary papillary renal cancer have an increased risk of type 1 papillary renal cell carcinoma. Patients with a genetic disorder called hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer have an increased risk of type 2 papillary renal cell carcinoma. Also called papillary kidney cancer and PRCC.
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 that looks like long, thin “finger-like” growths. These tumors grow from tissue that lines the inside of an organ. Papillary tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Papillary tumors occur most often in the bladder, thyroid, and breast, but they may occur in other parts of the body as well.
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.
papule
(PA-pyool)
A small, solid, raised bump on the skin that has a border with edges that are easy to see. Papules may be red, purple, brown, or pink.
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-sis)
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
(PAYR-uh-GOO-see-uh)
A bad taste in the mouth. Also called dysgeusia.
paralysis
(puh-RA-lih-sis)
Loss of ability to move all or part of the body.
paralytic ileus
(PAYR-uh-LIH-tik 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.
parametrium
(payr-uh-MEE-tree-um)
The fat and connective tissue that surrounds the uterus. The parametrium helps connect the uterus to other tissues in the pelvis.
paramyxovirus
(PAYR-uh-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.
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-uh)
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
(PAYR-uh-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
(payr-es-THEE-zhuh)
An abnormal touch sensation, such as burning or prickling, that occurs without an outside stimulus.
paricalcitol
(PAYR-ih-KAL-sih-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 cell vagotomy
(puh-RY-uh-tul sel vay-GAH-toh-mee)
Surgery to cut the parts of the vagus nerve that cause gastric acid to be made in the stomach. It is done to treat stomach ulcers or other conditions in which the stomach makes too much acid.
parietal pericardium
(puh-RY-uh-tul PAYR-ih-KAR-dee-um)
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 gland KAN-ser)
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
(puh-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-ROK-suh-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
(PAYR-ok-SIZ-mul nok-TER-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 in cells called PARP. PARP helps repair DNA when it becomes damaged. DNA damage may be caused by many things, including exposure to UV light, radiation, certain anticancer drugs, or other substances in the environment. In cancer treatment, blocking PARP may help keep cancer cells from repairing their damaged DNA, causing them to die. PARP inhibitors are a type of targeted therapy. Also called poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor.
PARP inhibitor AZD2281
(... in-HIH-bih-ter ...)
A drug used to treat certain types of breast cancer that have spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients with certain mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes who have HER2-negative cancer. It is also used to treat recurrent ovarian epithelial, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer that has gotten better after treatment with anticancer drugs that included platinum. PARP inhibitor AZD2281 is also used to treat advanced ovarian cancer. It is used in patients with certain mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes who have already been treated with at least three other types of anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PARP inhibitor AZD2281 blocks an enzyme involved in many cell functions, including the repair of DNA damage. Blocking this enzyme may help keep cancer cells from repairing their damaged DNA, causing them to die. PARP inhibitor AZD2281 is a type of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called AZD2281, Lynparza, 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 and veliparib.
PARP-1 inhibitor AG014699
(… in-HIH-bih-ter …)
A drug used to treat recurrent ovarian epithelial, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer that has gotten better after treatment with anticancer drugs that included platinum. It is used to help keep the cancer from coming back again. PARP-1 inhibitor AG014699 is also used in patients whose cancer has certain mutations (changes) in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes and who have already been treated with at least two other types of anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PARP-1 inhibitor AG014699 blocks an enzyme involved in many cell functions, including the repair of DNA damage. Blocking this enzyme may help keep cancer cells from growing and may kill them. PARP-1 inhibitor AG014699 is a type of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Also called AG014699, Rubraca, and rucaparib camsylate.
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 LAYR-in-JEK-toh-mee)
An operation to remove part of the larynx (voice box).
partial mastectomy
(PAR-shul ma-STEK-toh-mee)
An operation to remove the cancer and some normal tissue around it, but not the breast itself. Some lymph nodes under the arm may be removed for biopsy. Part of the chest wall lining may also be removed if the cancer is near it. Also called breast-conserving surgery, breast-sparing surgery, lumpectomy, quadrantectomy, and 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
(PAR-shul reh-MIH-shun)
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.
partial-breast irradiation
(PAR-shul-brest ih-RAY-dee-AY-shun)
A type of radiation therapy given only to the part of the breast that has cancer in it. Partial-breast irradiation gives a higher dose over a shorter time than is given in standard whole-breast radiation therapy. Partial-breast irradiation may be given using internal or external sources of radiation. Also called accelerated partial-breast irradiation.
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-seh-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
paternal
(puh-TER-nul)
Having to do with the father, coming from the father, or related through the father.
Paterson-Kelly syndrome
(PA-ter-sun-KEH-lee SIN-drome)
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
(PA-thog-noh-MAH-nik)
Having to do with a sign or symptom that is specific to a certain disease.
pathologic complete remission
(PA-thuh-LAH-jik kum-PLEET reh-MIH-shun)
The lack of all signs of cancer in tissue samples removed during surgery or biopsy after treatment with radiation or chemotherapy. To find out if there is a pathologic complete remission, a pathologist checks the tissue samples under a microscope to see if there are still cancer cells left after the anticancer treatment. Knowing if the cancer is in pathologic complete remission may help show how well treatment is working or if the cancer will come back. Also called pathologic complete response.
pathologic complete response
(PA-thuh-LAH-jik kum-PLEET reh-SPONTS)
The lack of all signs of cancer in tissue samples removed during surgery or biopsy after treatment with radiation or chemotherapy. To find out if there is a pathologic complete response, a pathologist checks the tissue samples under a microscope to see if there are still cancer cells left after the anticancer treatment. Knowing if the cancer is in pathologic complete response may help show how well treatment is working or if the cancer will come back. Also called pathologic complete remission.
pathologic fracture
(PA-thuh-LAH-jik FRAK-sher)
A broken bone caused by disease, often by the spread of cancer to the bone.
pathological stage
(PA-thuh-LAH-jih-kul stayj)
The stage of cancer (amount or spread of cancer in the body) that is based on how different from normal the cells in samples of tissue look under a microscope.
pathological staging
(PA-thuh-LAH-jih-kul STAY-jing)
A method used to find out the stage of cancer (amount or spread of cancer in the body) by removing tissue samples during surgery or a biopsy. The pathological stage is based on how different from normal the cells in the samples look under a microscope.
pathologist
(puh-THAH-loh-jist)
A doctor who has special training in identifying 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
(PAY-shunt AD-vuh-kut)
A person who helps guide a patient through the healthcare system. This includes help going through the screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of a medical condition, such as cancer. A patient advocate helps patients communicate with their healthcare providers so they get the information they need to make decisions about their health care. Patient advocates may also help patients set up appointments for doctor visits and medical tests and get financial, legal, and social support. They may also work with insurance companies, employers, case managers, lawyers, and others who may have an effect on a patient’s healthcare needs. Also called patient navigator.
patient navigator
(PAY-shunt NA-vih-GAY-ter)
A person who helps guide a patient through the healthcare system. This includes help going through the screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of a medical condition, such as cancer. A patient navigator helps patients communicate with their healthcare providers so they get the information they need to make decisions about their health care. Patient navigators may also help patients set up appointments for doctor visits and medical tests and get financial, legal, and social support. They may also work with insurance companies, employers, case managers, lawyers, and others who may have an effect on a patient’s healthcare needs. Also called patient advocate.
patient-controlled analgesia
(PAY-shunt-kun-TROLD 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.
patient-derived xenograft
(PAY-shunt-deh-RIVED ZEE-noh-graft)
Tumor tissue that has been taken from a patient and implanted into mice for research purposes. Cancer drugs and other types of treatment may be tested on xenografts to see how well they work before they are given to the patient. Patient-derived xenografts may be used to help plan treatment and learn what the best treatment may be for a patient. They are also being used in the development of new cancer drugs. Also called PDX.
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 hydrochloride
(puh-ZOH-puh-nib HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma, which is the most common type of kidney cancer. It is also used to treat advanced soft tissue sarcoma that has been treated with other anticancer drugs. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pazopanib hydrochloride 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 and Votrient.
PBSCT
A procedure in which a patient receives healthy blood-forming cells (stem cells) to replace their own stem cells that have been destroyed by disease or by the radiation or high doses of anticancer drugs that are given as part of the procedure. The healthy stem cells may come from the blood of the patient or a donor. A PBSCT may be autologous (using a patient’s own stem cells that were collected and saved before treatment), allogeneic (using stem cells donated by someone who is not an identical twin), or syngeneic (using stem cells donated by an identical twin). Also called peripheral blood stem cell transplant and peripheral stem cell support.
PC regimen
(… REH-jih-men)
A chemotherapy combination used to treat endometrial, ovarian, and head and neck cancers, and non-small cell lung cancer that has spread. It includes the drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel (Taxol). Also called Carbo-Tax regimen, carboplatin-Taxol, carboplatin-Taxol regimen, and CaT regimen.
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 piece of DNA from a sample that contains very tiny amounts of that DNA. PCR allows these pieces of DNA to be amplified so they can be detected. PCR may be used to look for certain changes in a gene or chromosome, which may help find and diagnose a genetic condition or a disease, such as cancer. It may also be used to look at pieces of the DNA of certain bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms to help diagnose an infection. Also called polymerase chain reaction.
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.
PCV
An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat certain types of brain tumors. It is often used with radiation therapy. It includes the drugs procarbazine hydrochloride, lomustine (CCNU), and vincristine sulfate. Also called PCV regimen.
PCV regimen
(… REH-jih-men)
An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used to treat certain types of brain tumors. It is often used with radiation therapy. It includes the drugs procarbazine hydrochloride, lomustine (CCNU), and vincristine sulfate. Also called PCV.
PD-1
A protein found on T cells (a type of immune cell) that helps keep the body’s immune responses in check. When PD-1 is bound to another protein called PD-L1, it helps keep T cells from killing other cells, including cancer cells. Some anticancer drugs, called immune checkpoint inhibitors, are used to block PD-1. When this protein is blocked, the “brakes” on the immune system are released and the ability of T cells to kill cancer cells is increased.
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 source of cancer information that is developed and maintained by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). It makes current, credible, and accurate cancer information available to health professionals and the public. PDQ contains information about cancer treatment, supportive and palliative care, screening, prevention, genetics, and integrative, complementary, and alternative medicine. This information is updated with the most recent evidence from scientific research. PDQ also contains drug information summaries on many cancer-related drugs; dictionaries of cancer terms, drug terms, and genetics terms; and a directory of professionals who provide genetics services. Most of this information and more specific information about PDQ can be found on the NCI's website at http://www.cancer.gov/publications/pdq. Also called Physician Data Query.
PDX
Tumor tissue that has been taken from a patient and implanted into mice for research purposes. Cancer drugs and other types of treatment may be tested on xenografts to see how well they work before they are given to the patient. PDXs may be used to help plan treatment and learn what the best treatment may be for a patient. They are also being used in the development of new cancer drugs. Also called patient-derived xenograft.
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
(poh duh-RANJ)
A dimpled condition of the skin of the breast, resembling the skin of an orange, sometimes found in inflammatory breast cancer.
PEB
An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used in children to treat certain types of malignant (cancer) germ cell tumors that are not in the brain. It includes the drugs cisplatin (Platinol), etoposide phosphate, and bleomycin sulfate. Also called PEB regimen.
PEB regimen
(… REH-jih-men)
An abbreviation for a chemotherapy combination used in children to treat certain types of malignant (cancer) germ cell tumors that are not in the brain. It includes the drugs cisplatin (Platinol), etoposide phosphate, and bleomycin sulfate. Also called PEB.
PEComa
A family of rare tumors that form in the soft tissues of the stomach, intestines, lungs, female reproductive organs, and genitourinary organs. Most PEComas are benign (not cancer). They often occur in children with an inherited condition called tuberous sclerosis. Also called perivascular epithelioid cell tumor.
PediaSure
(PEE-dee-uh-sher)
A nutritional drink that helps children who cannot get everything they need in their diet from foods and other drinks. It may be given through a small tube that is inserted through the nose into the stomach or the small intestine. It may also be given through a tube that is put into the stomach or the intestinal tract through an opening made on the outside of the abdomen. Also called pediatric polymeric enteral nutrition formula.
pediatric
(pee-dee-A-trik)
Having to do with children.
pediatric cancer
(pee-dee-A-trik KAN-ser)
A term used to describe cancers that occur between birth and 15 years of age. Pediatric cancers are very rare and may differ from adult cancers in the way they grow and spread, how they are treated, and how they respond to treatment. Common types of pediatric cancer include leukemia (begins in blood-forming tissue such as bone marrow), lymphoma (begins in the cells of the immune system), neuroblastoma (begins in certain nerve cells), retinoblastoma (begins in the tissues of the retina), Wilms tumor (a type of kidney cancer), and cancers of the brain, bone, and soft tissue. Also called childhood cancer.
pediatric hematologist
(PEE-dee-A-trik HEE-muh-TAH-loh-jist)
A doctor who has special training in diagnosing and 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 oncologist
(pee-dee-A-trik on-KAH-loh-jist)
A doctor who has special training in diagnosing and treating children with cancer.
pediatric polymeric enteral nutrition formula
(pee-dee-A-trik PAH-lih-MAYR-ik EN-teh-rul noo-TRIH-shun FOR-myoo-luh)
A nutritional drink that helps children who cannot get everything they need in their diet from foods and other drinks. It may be given through a small tube that is inserted through the nose into the stomach or the small intestine. It may also be given through a tube that is put into the stomach or the intestinal tract through an opening made on the outside of the abdomen. Also called PediaSure.
pediatric surgeon
(pee-dee-A-trik SER-jun)
A surgeon who has special training in treating children. A surgeon removes or repairs a part of the body by operating on the patient.
pediatrician
(PEE-dee-uh-TRIH-shun)
A doctor who has special training in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and injuries in children. Pediatricians also help manage other problems that affect children, such as developmental disorders and behavioral, emotional, and social problems.
pedicle flap
(PEH-dih-kul …)
A type of surgery used to rebuild the shape of the breast after a mastectomy. Tissue, including skin, fat, and muscle, is moved from one area of the body, such as the back or abdomen, to the chest to form a new breast mound. The tissue flap, along with its blood vessels, stays connected to the body and is passed through a tunnel under the skin to the chest. A pedicle flap is a type of breast reconstruction.
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
(peer ree-VYOO PRAH-ses)
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
(peer-ree-VYOOD SY-en-TIH-fik JER-nul)
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-PAYR-uh-jih-NAYS)
A drug used with other drugs to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It is used in patients whose cancer has not already been treated or who cannot be treated with asparaginase. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PEG-asparaginase 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 cancer cells that need asparagine to grow. It is a type of protein synthesis inhibitor. Also called Oncaspar and pegaspargase.
pegaspargase
(peg-A-spar-jays)
A drug used with other drugs to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It is used in patients whose cancer has not already been treated or who cannot be treated with asparaginase. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pegaspargase 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 cancer 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 peginterferon alfa-2a.
pegfilgrastim
(peg-fil-GRAS-tim)
A drug used to treat neutropenia (a condition in which there is a lower-than-normal number of white blood cells) caused by some types of chemotherapy. It is used to help prevent infection in patients with certain types of cancer. Pegfilgrastim helps the bone marrow make more white blood cells. It is a form of filgrastim and is able to stay in the body longer. Pegfilgrastim is a type of colony-stimulating factor. Also called filgrastim-SD/01, Fulphila, and Neulasta.
peginterferon 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.
peginterferon alfa-2b
(peg-IN-ter-FEER-on AL-fuh ...)
A drug used to treat melanoma and chronic hepatitis C. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Peginterferon alfa-2b is used under the brand name Sylatron to treat melanoma in patients who have had surgery to remove cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes. It is also used under the brand name PEG-Intron to treat chronic hepatitis C. Peginterferon alfa-2b is a form of interferon alfa (a substance normally made by cells in the immune system) linked to a substance called PEG, which makes the drug stay in the body longer. Peginterferon alfa-2b is made in the laboratory. It is a type of cytokine and a type of biological response modifier. Also called SCH 54031.
PEG-Intron
(… IN-tron)
A drug used to treat chronic hepatitis C. PEG-Intron contains the active ingredient peginterferon alfa-2b. It is a type of cytokine and a type of biological response modifier.
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.
pegylated arginine deiminase
(PEH-guh-LAY-ted AR-jih-neen DEE-IH-mih-nays)
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
(PEL-deh-seen)
A substance that is being studied for the treatment of cancer.
pelitinib
(peh-LIH-tih-nib)
A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. It blocks the action of certain proteins that are part of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family of proteins. These proteins may be found in increased amounts on the surface of some types of cancer cells. Blocking the action of these proteins may stop cancer cells from growing and may kill cancer cells. Pelitinib is a type of EGFR inhibitor. Also called EKB-569.
pelvic
(PEL-vik)
Having to do with the pelvis. The pelvis is the area of the body below the abdomen that is located between the hip bones and contains the bladder and rectum. In females, it also contains the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. In males, it also contains the prostate and seminal vesicles.
pelvic exam
(PEL-vik eg-ZAM)
A physical exam of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum. First, the area outside the vagina is checked for signs of disease. A speculum is then inserted into the vagina to widen it so the vagina and cervix can be checked for signs of disease. Cell samples may be taken for a Pap test, or to test for sexually transmitted diseases or other infections. The doctor or nurse then inserts one or two lubricated, gloved fingers of one hand into the vagina and presses on the lower abdomen with the other hand to feel for lumps and check the size, shape, and position of the uterus and ovaries. The rectum may also be checked for lumps or abnormal areas. Also called internal exam.
pelvic exenteration
(PEL-vik eg-ZEN-teh-RAY-shun)
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 inflammatory disease
(PEL-vik in-FLA-muh-TOR-ee dih-ZEEZ)
A condition in which the female reproductive organs are inflamed. It may affect the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and certain ligaments. Pelvic inflammatory disease is usually caused by a bacterial infection. It may cause infertility and an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the fallopian tubes). Also called PID.
pelvic lymph node
(PEL-vik limf node)
A lymph node in the pelvis. The pelvis is the area of the body below the abdomen that contains the hip bones, bladder, rectum, and male or female reproductive organs. Pelvic lymph nodes drain and filter lymph from the pelvis and nearby areas. In cancer, pelvic lymph nodes that are near a tumor may be removed by surgery to check for signs that cancer has spread.
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
(PEL-vik ...)
The muscles and ligaments that line the part of the body between the hips.
pelvis
(PEL-vus)
The area of the body below the abdomen that contains the hip bones, bladder, and rectum. In females, it also contains the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. In males, it also contains the prostate and seminal vesicles.
pembrolizumab
(pem-broh-LIH-zoo-mab)
A drug used to treat certain types of cervical cancer, stomach cancer, gastroesophageal junction cancer, urothelial cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, non-small cell lung cancer, cancer of the head and neck, and melanoma. It is also used to treat some types of solid tumors, including colorectal cancer, that have certain mutations in genes involved in DNA repair. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pembrolizumab binds to a protein called PD-1, which is found on T cells. Pembrolizumab may block PD-1 and help the immune system kill cancer cells. It is a type of monoclonal antibody and a type of immune checkpoint inhibitor. Also called Keytruda.
pemetrexed disodium
(peh-meh-TREK-sed dy-SOH-dee-um)
A drug used alone or with cisplatin to treat certain types of non-small cell lung cancer that is locally advanced or has spread to other parts of the body. It is also used with cisplatin to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma in patients whose cancer cannot be treated with surgery. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pemetrexed disodium stops cells from using folic acid to make DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of folate antagonist. Also called Alimta and LY231514.
penclomedine
(pen-KLOH-meh-deen)
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
(PEH-neh-trunts)
Describes how likely it is that a person who has a certain disease-causing mutation (change) in a gene will show signs and symptoms of the disease. Not everyone who has the mutation will develop the disease. For example, some people who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation will develop cancer during their lifetime, but others will not. Currently, there is no way to know which people who have a cancer-causing mutation will develop cancer. Complete penetrance means that every person who has the mutation will show signs and symptoms of the disease.
penicillamine
(PEH-nih-SIH-luh-MEEN)
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
(PEH-nih-SIH-lin)
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 IM-plant)
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-TEH-tik 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
(PEN-tok-SIH-fuh-lin)
A drug used to prevent blood clotting and as a treatment that may help decrease weight loss in people with cancer.
PEP02
A form of the anticancer drug irinotecan hydrochloride that is contained in very tiny, fat-like particles. PEP02 is used together with fluorouracil and leucovorin to treat a certain type of pancreatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and has gotten worse after treatment with gemcitabine anticancer therapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Irinotecan hydrochloride blocks certain enzymes needed for cell division and DNA repair, and it may kill cancer cells. PEP02 may have fewer side effects and work better than irinotecan hydrochloride. It is a type of topoisomerase inhibitor and a type of camptothecin analog. Also called irinotecan hydrochloride liposome, liposome-encapsulated irinotecan hydrochloride PEP02, and Onivyde.
pepsin
(PEP-sin)
An enzyme made in the stomach that breaks down proteins in food during digestion. Stomach acid changes a protein called pepsinogen into pepsin.
pepsinogen
(pep-SIH-noh-jen)
A substance made by cells in the stomach. Acid in the stomach changes pepsinogen to pepsin, which breaks down proteins in food during digestion.
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.
peptide receptor radionuclide therapy
(PEP-tide reh-SEP-ter RAY-dee-oh-NOO-klide THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of radiation therapy used to treat certain types of neuroendocrine tumors. A radioactive chemical is linked to a peptide (small protein) that targets cancer cells. When this radioactive peptide is injected into the body, it binds to a specific receptor found on some cancer cells. The radioactive peptide builds up in these cells and helps kill the cancer cells without harming normal cells. Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy is a type of targeted therapy. Also called PRRT.
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 epididymal sperm aspiration
(per-kyoo-TAY-nee-us eh-pih-DIH-dih-mul … AS-pih-RAY-shun)
A procedure in which a sample of sperm cells is removed from the epididymis through a small needle attached to a syringe. The epididymis is a narrow, tightly-coiled tube that is attached to each of the testicles and is where sperm cells mature and are stored. The sperm is looked at under a microscope in a laboratory, where it may be used right away to fertilize eggs or frozen for future infertility treatment. Percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration may be useful for men who have fertility problems caused by a blockage that keeps sperm from being ejaculated. This could be caused by previous vasectomy, certain genetic conditions, infection, or other conditions. It may also be useful for men who want to have children after having treatment that may cause infertility, such as certain cancer treatments. Percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration is a type of sperm retrieval method.
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
(per-FOR-munts STA-tus)
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-zuh-nunts 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
(PAYR-ih-KAR-dee-ul eh-FYOO-zhun)
A condition in which extra fluid collects between the heart and the pericardium (the sac around the heart). The extra fluid causes pressure on the heart. This keeps it from pumping blood normally. Lymph vessels may also be blocked, which can cause infection. Pericardial effusions may be caused by cancer or cancer treatment, infection, injury, autoimmune disorders, thyroid or kidney problems, or other conditions.
pericytic tumor
(PAYR-ih-SIH-tik TOO-mer)
A type of soft tissue tumor that begins in cells that wrap around blood vessels. Pericytic tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). They can occur anywhere in the body. Pericytic tumors may occur in adults or children. Also called perivascular tumor.
perifosine
(PAYR-ih-FAH-seen)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called alkylphospholipids.
perihilar bile duct
(PAYR-ee-HY-ler bile dukt)
A small part of a duct (tube) called the extrahepatic bile duct that is just outside the liver and carries bile from the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine. The perihilar bile duct starts where the right and left hepatic ducts join outside the liver and form the common hepatic duct. It ends where a duct from the gallbladder joins to form the common bile duct. The perihilar bile duct is part of the biliary system.
perillyl alcohol
(PAYR-ih-lil AL-kuh-hol)
A substance that is being studied in the prevention of cancer. It belongs to the family of plant drugs called monoterpenes.
perimenopausal
(PAYR-ee-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-ih-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-ih-NEE-ul PROS-tuh-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove the prostate through an incision made between the scrotum and the anus.
perineum
(PAYR-ih-NEE-um)
The area of the body between the anus and the vulva in females, and between the anus and the scrotum in males.
perineural
(payr-ih-NOOR-ul)
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
(PAYR-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 blood stem cell transplant
(peh-RIH-feh-rul ... stem sel TRANZ-plant)
A procedure in which a patient receives healthy blood-forming cells (stem cells) to replace their own stem cells that have been destroyed by disease or by the radiation or high doses of anticancer drugs that are given as part of the procedure. The healthy stem cells may come from the blood of the patient or a donor. A peripheral blood stem cell transplant may be autologous (using a patient’s own stem cells that were collected and saved before treatment), allogeneic (using stem cells donated by someone who is not an identical twin), or syngeneic (using stem cells donated by an identical twin). Also called PBSCT and peripheral stem cell support.
peripheral neuropathy
(peh-RIH-feh-rul noor-AH-puh-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 cancer or cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy. It may also be caused by physical injury, infection, toxic substances, or conditions such as diabetes, kidney failure, or malnutrition. Also called neuropathy.
peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor
(peh-RIH-feh-rul PRIH-muh-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 procedure in which a patient receives healthy blood-forming cells (stem cells) to replace their own stem cells that have been destroyed by disease or by the radiation or high doses of anticancer drugs that are given as part of the procedure. The healthy stem cells may come from the blood of the patient or a donor. A peripheral stem cell support may be autologous (using a patient’s own stem cells that were collected and saved before treatment), allogeneic (using stem cells donated by someone who is not an identical twin), or syngeneic (using stem cells donated by an identical twin). Also called PBSCT and peripheral blood stem cell transplant.
peripheral T-cell lymphoma
(peh-RIH-feh-rul ... lim-FOH-muh)
One of a group of aggressive (fast-growing) non-Hodgkin lymphomas that begin in mature T lymphocytes (T cells that have matured in the thymus gland and gone 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 device used to draw blood and give treatments, including intravenous fluids, drugs, or blood transfusions. A thin, flexible tube is inserted into a vein, usually in the back of the hand, the lower part of the arm, or the foot. A needle is inserted into a port to draw blood or give fluids.
peripherally inserted central catheter
(peh-RIH-feh-ruh-lee in-SER-ted SEN-trul KA-theh-ter)
A device used to draw blood and give treatments, including intravenous fluids, drugs, or blood transfusions. A thin, flexible tube is inserted into a vein in the upper arm and guided (threaded) into a large vein above the right side of the heart called the superior vena cava. A needle is inserted into a port outside the body to draw blood or give fluids. A peripherally inserted central catheter may stay in place for weeks or months and helps avoid the need for repeated needle sticks. Also called PICC.
peristalsis
(payr-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 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.
peritoneal washing
(PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul WAH-shing)
A procedure in which a salt-water solution is used to wash the peritoneal cavity and then is removed to check for cancer cells. The peritoneal cavity is the space in the abdomen that contains the intestines, stomach, and liver. Peritoneal washings are commonly done during surgery for cancer of the ovary and uterus, to see if cancer has spread to 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
(PAYR-ih-tuh-NY-tis)
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.
perivascular epithelioid cell tumor
(PAYR-ee-VAS-kyoo-ler eh-pih-THEE-lee-oyd sel TOO-mer)
A family of rare tumors that form in the soft tissues of the stomach, intestines, lungs, female reproductive organs, and genitourinary organs. Most perivascular epithelioid cell tumors are benign (not cancer). They often occur in children with an inherited condition called tuberous sclerosis. Also called PEComa.
perivascular tumor
(PAYR-ee-VAS-kyoo-ler TOO-mer)
A type of soft tissue tumor that begins in cells that wrap around blood vessels. Perivascular tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). They can occur anywhere in the body. Perivascular tumors may occur in adults or children. Also called pericytic tumor.
Perjeta
(per-JEH-tuh)
A drug used with other drugs to treat breast cancer that is HER2 positive. It is used in patients whose cancer has spread to other parts of the body and has not been treated with other anticancer drugs. It is also used before surgery in certain patients and after surgery in some patients who are at high risk for their cancer to recur (come back). It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Perjeta binds to a protein called HER2, which is found on some cancer cells. Blocking this protein may help kill cancer cells. Perjeta is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called pertuzumab.
pernicious anemia
(per-NIH-shus uh-NEE-mee-uh)
A type of anemia (low red blood cell count) caused by the body's inability to absorb vitamin B12.
peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma pathway
(peh-ROK-sih-some proh-LIH-feh-RAY-ter-AK-tih-vay-ted reh-SEP-ter GA-muh PATH-way)
Describes a group of proteins in a cell that work together to help control how certain genes are expressed and the use of lipids (fats) and glucose (sugar) in the body. Changes in the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma pathway may lead to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Drugs or substances that affect this pathway are being studied in the prevention and treatment of cancer and other diseases. Also called PPAR gamma pathway.
personal health record
(PER-suh-nul helth REH-kurd)
A collection of information about a person’s health that allows the person to manage and track his or her own health information. A personal health record may include information about allergies, illnesses, surgeries, immunizations, and results of physical exams, tests, and screenings. It may also include information about medicines taken and health habits, such as diet and exercise. Also called personal history, personal medical history, and PHR.
personal history
(PER-suh-nul HIH-stuh-ree)
A collection of information about a person’s health that allows the person to manage and track his or her own health information. A personal history may include information about allergies, illnesses, surgeries, immunizations, and results of physical exams, tests, and screenings. It may also include information about medicines taken and health habits, such as diet and exercise. Also called personal health record, personal medical history, and PHR.
personal medical history
(PER-suh-nul MEH-dih-kul HIH-stuh-ree)
A collection of information about a person’s health that allows the person to manage and track his or her own health information. A personal medical history may include information about allergies, illnesses, surgeries, immunizations, and results of physical exams, tests, and screenings. It may also include information about medicines taken and health habits, such as diet and exercise. Also called personal health record, personal history, and PHR.
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. In cancer, personalized medicine uses specific information about a person’s tumor to help diagnose, plan treatment, find out how well treatment is working, or make a prognosis. Examples of personalized medicine include using targeted therapies to treat specific types of cancer cells, such as HER2-positive breast cancer cells, or using tumor marker testing to help diagnose cancer. Also called precision medicine.
perturbation
(PER-ter-BAY-shun)
A disruption or disturbance.
pertussis
(per-TUH-sis)
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 drug used with other drugs to treat breast cancer that is HER2 positive. It is used in patients whose cancer has spread to other parts of the body and has not been treated with other anticancer drugs. It is also used before surgery in certain patients and after surgery in some patients who are at high risk for their cancer to recur (come back). It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pertuzumab binds to a protein called HER2, which is found on some cancer cells. Blocking this protein may help kill cancer cells. Pertuzumab is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called Perjeta.
pesticide
(PES-tih-side)
Any substance that is used to kill insects and other pests.
PET scan
(… 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 taken up. Because cancer cells often take up more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body. Also called positron emission tomography scan.
PET-CT scan
(… skan)
A procedure that combines the pictures from a positron emission tomography (PET) scan and a computed tomography (CT) scan. The PET and CT scans are done at the same time with the same machine. The combined scans give more detailed pictures of areas inside the body than either scan gives by itself. A PET-CT scan may be used to help diagnose disease, such as cancer, plan treatment, or find out how well treatment is working. Also called positron emission tomography-computed tomography scan.
petechiae
(peh-TEE-kee-ee)
Pinpoint, unraised, round red spots under the skin caused by bleeding.
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.
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
(putz-JAY-gerz SIN-drome)
A genetic disorder in which polyps form in the intestine and dark spots appear on the mouth and fingers. Having Peutz-Jeghers syndrome increases the risk of developing gastrointestinal cancer and many other types of cancer. Also called PJS.
pevonedistat
(PEH-voh-NEH-dih-stat)
A substance being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer. Pevonedistat blocks an enzyme called NEDD8-activating enzyme (NAE), which is involved in cell division. Blocking this enzyme may help keep cancer cells from growing and may kill them. Pevonedistat is a type of NAE inhibitor and a type of targeted therapy.
PF-00299804
A drug used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and has not already been treated. It is used in patients whose cancer has certain mutations (changes) in a gene called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PF-00299804 blocks certain proteins made by the mutated EGFR gene, which may help keep cancer cells from growing and may kill them. It is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Also called dacomitinib and Vizimpro.
PF-02341066
A drug used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients whose cancer has a mutated (changed) form of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene or the ROS1 gene. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PF-02341066 blocks the proteins made by the mutated ALK and ROS1 genes. Blocking these proteins may stop the growth and spread of cancer cells. PF-02341066 may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called crizotinib, MET tyrosine kinase inhibitor PF-02341066, and Xalkori.
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.
PFIC
A rare, inherited disorder marked by a buildup in the liver of bile (fluid that helps digest fat). This can lead to liver disease and liver failure. It may also increase the risk of liver cancer. PFIC is caused by mutations (changes) in certain genes that make proteins needed to help the liver work the way it should. It usually occurs in infants and children. Also called progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis.
PFS
The length of time during and after the treatment of a disease, such as cancer, that a patient lives with the disease but it does not get worse. In a clinical trial, measuring the PFS is one way to see how well a new treatment works. Also called progression-free survival.
PFT
A test used to measure how well the lungs work. It measures how much air the lungs can hold and how quickly air is moved into and out of the lungs. It also measures how much oxygen is used and how much carbon dioxide is given off during breathing. A PFT can be used to diagnose a lung disease and to see how well treatment for the disease is working. Also called lung function test and pulmonary function test.
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.
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.
pH
A measure of how acidic or basic a substance or solution is. pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. On this scale, a pH value of 7 is neutral, which means it is neither acidic nor basic. A pH value of less than 7 means it is more acidic, and a pH value of more than 7 means it is more basic. In medicine, having the right pH in the blood and other body fluids is important for the body to work the way it should.
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.
PHACE syndrome
(… SIN-drome)
A rare disorder marked by a hemangioma (a benign blood vessel tumor) that spreads across an area of the body, usually the face, head, or neck. Other health problems that affect the large blood vessels, heart, eyes, or brain may also occur. PHACE syndrome may also cause developmental delays, hearing problems, thyroid problems, and migraines. PHACE syndrome usually occurs in infants and is much more common in girls than boys.
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
(FAN-tum lim payn)
The sensation of pain or other unpleasant feelings in the place of a missing (phantom) limb.
pharmacist
(FAR-muh-sist)
A health professional who has special training in preparing and dispensing (giving out) prescription drugs. Pharmacists have been taught how drugs 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
(FAR-muh-koh-PEE-uh)
A book describing chemicals, drugs, and other substances and how they are used as medicines. It is prepared by a recognized authority.
pharmacovigilance
(FAR-muh-koh-VIH-juh-lunts)
The science and practice of continuously reviewing the safety of drugs as they are tested in clinical trials and marketed for use. As part of pharmacovigilance, data about the problems caused by treatment with a drug are collected and analyzed. This process helps find ways to prevent adverse events and improve the safety of drugs. Also called PV.
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 clinical trial
(fayz … KLIH-nih-kul TRY-ul)
The first step in testing a new treatment in humans. A phase I study tests the safety, side effects, best dose, and timing of a new treatment. It may also test the best way to give a new treatment (for example, by mouth, infusion into a vein, or injection) and how the treatment affects the body. The dose is usually increased a little at a time in order to find the highest dose that does not cause harmful side effects. Phase I clinical trials usually include only a small number of patients who have not been helped by other treatments. Sometimes they include healthy volunteers.
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/II clinical trial
(fayz … KLIH-nih-kul TRY-ul)
A study that tests the safety, side effects, and best dose of a new treatment. Phase I/II clinical trials also test how well a certain type of cancer or other disease responds to a new treatment. In the phase II part of the clinical trial, patients usually receive the highest dose of treatment that did not cause harmful side effects in the phase I part of the clinical trial. Combining phases I and II may allow research questions to be answered more quickly or with fewer patients.
phase II clinical trial
(fayz … KLIH-nih-kul TRY-ul)
A study that tests whether a new treatment works for a certain type of cancer or other disease (for example, whether it shrinks a tumor or improves blood test results). Phase II clinical trials may also provide more information about the safety of the new treatment and how the treatment affects the body.
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/III clinical trial
(fayz … KLIH-nih-kul TRY-ul)
A study that tests how well a new treatment works for a certain type of cancer or other disease and compares the new treatment with a standard treatment. Phase II/III clinical trials may also provide more information about the safety and side effects of the new treatment. Combining phases II and III may allow research questions to be answered more quickly or with fewer patients.
phase III clinical trial
(fayz … KLIH-nih-kul TRY-ul)
A study that tests the safety and how well a new treatment works compared with a standard treatment. For example, phase III clinical trials may compare which group of patients has better survival rates or fewer side effects. In most cases, treatments move into phase III trials only after they meet the goals of phase I and II trials. Phase III clinical trials may include hundreds of people.
phase IV clinical trial
(fayz … KLIH-nih-kul TRY-ul)
A type of clinical trial that studies the side effects caused over time by a new treatment after it has been approved and is on the market. These trials look for side effects that were not seen in earlier trials and may also study how well a new treatment works over a long period of time. Phase IV clinical trials may include thousands of people. Also called post-marketing surveillance trial.
phenethyl isothiocyanate
(feh-NEH-thul I-soh-THY-oh-SY-uh-nayt)
A substance being studied in the prevention of cancer. It is a naturally occurring compound found in some cruciferous vegetables. Also called PEITC.
phenobarbital
(FEE-noh-BAR-bih-tal)
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.
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.
phenoxodiol
(fih-NOK-soh-DY-ol)
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
(FEH-nil-BYOO-tuh-rayt)
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.
phenytoin sodium
(FEH-nih-toh-in SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to treat or prevent seizures or convulsions that may be caused by epilepsy, brain surgery, or treatment for brain cancer. It is a type of anticonvulsant agent. Also called Dilantin.
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
(feh-REE-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 and sometimes found in acute lymphocytic 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)
A procedure in which a needle is used to take blood from a vein, usually for laboratory testing. Phlebotomy may also be done to remove extra red blood cells from the blood, to treat certain blood disorders. Also called blood draw and 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-duh-lih-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.
phosphonoformate trisodium
(FOS-foh-noh-FOR-mayt try-SOH-dee-um)
A drug used to treat infections with herpesviruses in people whose immune systems are weakened by AIDS. It blocks the viruses from making copies of themselves. It is a type of antiviral agent. Also called foscarnet sodium and Foscavir.
phosphoric
(fos-FOR-ik)
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 P 32
(FOS-for-us ...)
A radioactive form of the element phosphorus. It is used in the laboratory to label DNA and proteins. It has also been used to treat a blood disorder called polycythemia vera and certain types of leukemia, but it is not commonly used anymore. Phosphorus P 32 gives off radiation that damages the DNA in a cell, which can cause the cell to die.
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 therapy
(FOH-ton beem RAY-dee-AY-shun THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of radiation therapy that uses x-rays or gamma rays that come from a special machine called a linear accelerator (linac). The radiation dose is delivered at the surface of the body and goes into the tumor and through the body. Photon beam radiation therapy is different from proton beam therapy.
photopheresis
(FOH-toh-feh-REE-sis)
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.
photosynthesis
(FOH-toh-SIN-theh-sis)
A chemical process that occurs in plants, algae, and some types of bacteria, when they are exposed to sunlight. During photosynthesis, water and carbon dioxide combine to form carbohydrates (sugars) and give off oxygen. Photosynthesis is needed for animal and plant life.
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.
PHP
A rare condition in which the pituitary gland stops making most or all hormones. Pituitary hormones help control the way many parts of the body work. Symptoms of the condition depend on the hormones that are missing. They include growth problems (in children), obesity (in adults), hair loss, slow heart rate, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, fatigue, and problems with reproduction. This condition may be caused by a tumor on or near the pituitary gland, infection, stroke, injury, surgery, or radiation therapy. It may also be inherited. Also called panhypopituitarism.
PHR
A collection of information about a person’s health that allows the person to manage and track his or her own health information. A PHR may include information about allergies, illnesses, surgeries, immunizations, and results of physical exams, tests, and screenings. It may also include information about medicines taken and health habits, such as diet and exercise. Also called personal health record, personal history, and personal medical history.
phrenic nerve
(FREH-nik nerv)
A nerve that runs from the spinal cord to the diaphragm (the thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen). It causes the diaphragm to contract and relax, which helps control breathing.
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 has special training in physical medicine. Physical medicine is 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 has special training in physical medicine. Physical medicine is the prevention and treatment of disease or injury with physical methods, such as exercise and machines. Also called physiatrist.
physical therapist
(FIH-zih-kul THAYR-uh-pist)
A health professional trained to evaluate and treat people who have conditions or injuries that limit their ability to move and do physical activities. Physical therapists use methods such as exercise, massage, hot packs, ice, and electrical stimulation to help strengthen muscles, relieve pain, and improve movement. They also teach exercises to help prevent injury and loss of motion.
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.
physical touch methods
(FIH-zih-kul tuch MEH-thuds)
A type of therapy in which the therapist moves or manipulates one or more parts of the patient’s body. It may be used to treat pain, stress, anxiety, and depression, and for general well-being. Examples include chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, and massage therapy. Also called manipulative and body-based practice and manual healing.
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 source of cancer information that is developed and maintained by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). It makes current, credible, and accurate cancer information available to health professionals and the public. Physician Data Query contains information about cancer treatment, supportive and palliative care, screening, prevention, genetics, and integrative, complementary, and alternative medicine. This information is updated with the most recent evidence from scientific research. Physician Data Query also contains drug information summaries on many cancer-related drugs; dictionaries of cancer terms, drug terms, and genetics terms; and a directory of professionals who provide genetics services. Most of this information and more specific information about Physician Data Query can be found on the NCI's website at http://www.cancer.gov/publications/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-kul)
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-STEER-ol)
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
The person(s) in charge of a clinical trial or a scientific research grant. The PI prepares and carries out the clinical trial protocol (plan for the study) or research paid for by the grant. The PI also analyzes the data and reports the results of the trial or grant research. Also called principal investigator.
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.
PI-88
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiangiogenesis agents.
Picato
(pih-KAY-toh)
A drug applied to the skin to treat actinic keratosis (thick, scaly growths on the skin that may become cancer). Picato may help kill abnormal cells. It is a type of cytotoxic agent. Also called ingenol mebutate gel.
PICC
A device used to draw blood and give treatments, including intravenous fluids, drugs, or blood transfusions. A thin, flexible tube is inserted into a vein in the upper arm and guided (threaded) into a large vein above the right side of the heart called the superior vena cava. A needle is inserted into a port outside the body to draw blood or give fluids. A PICC may stay in place for weeks or months and helps avoid the need for repeated needle sticks. Also called peripherally inserted central catheter.
PID
A condition in which the female reproductive organs are inflamed. It may affect the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and certain ligaments. PID is usually caused by a bacterial infection. It may cause infertility and an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the fallopian tubes). Also called pelvic inflammatory disease.
pigment
(PIG-ment)
A substance that gives color to tissue. Pigments are responsible for the color of skin, eyes, and hair.
pilocarpine
(PY-loh-KAR-peen)
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
(PIH-nee-ul BAH-dee)
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal gland and pineal organ.
pineal germinoma
(PIH-nee-ul JER-mih-NOH-muh)
A type of germ cell tumor that is found in the pineal gland in the brain. Symptoms of pineal germinomas include headaches, changes in vision, nausea, and vomiting.
pineal gland
(PIH-nee-ul ...)
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal body and pineal organ.
pineal organ
(PIH-nee-ul OR-gun)
A tiny organ in the cerebrum that produces melatonin. Also called pineal body and pineal gland.
pineal region tumor
(PIH-nee-ul REE-jun TOO-mer)
A type of brain tumor that forms in or around the pineal gland (a tiny organ near the center of the brain). Pineal region tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). They include pineocytomas, pineoblastomas, and pineal germinomas. Also called pinealoma.
pinealoma
(PIH-nee-uh-LOH-muh)
A type of brain tumor that forms in or around the pineal gland (a tiny organ near the center of the brain). Pinealomas may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). They include pineocytomas, pineoblastomas, and pineal germinomas. Also called pineal region tumor.
pineoblastoma
(PIH-nee-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
(PIH-nee-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
(PINK-i)
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.
pipe
As it relates to tobacco use, a device that has a mouthpiece at one end of a tube and a small bowl at the other end that is filled with tobacco, which is lit and smoked. The smoke from a pipe is usually not inhaled into the lungs. It contains nicotine and many cancer-causing chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. Pipe smoking can lead to nicotine addiction and can cause cancers of the mouth, larynx (voice box), esophagus, lung, pancreas, and bladder. It can also cause heart disease, lung disease, and other health problems.
piperacillin-tazobactam
(py-PER-uh-SIH-lin-TA-zoh-BAK-tam)
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
(peer-FEH-nih-done)
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-TREK-sim)
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...)
A pea-sized organ attached to the part of the brain called the hypothalamus. It lies at the base of the brain above the back of the nose. The hypothalamus sends signals to the pituitary gland, which then makes hormones that control other glands and many of the body’s functions, including growth and fertility.
pituitary tumor
(pih-TOO-ih-TAYR-ee TOO-mer)
A tumor that forms in the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is a pea-sized organ at the base of the brain. It makes hormones that affect other glands and many of the body’s functions, including growth. Symptoms depend on the hormones affected by the tumor. Most pituitary tumors are benign (not cancer) and many do not cause any symptoms.
pixantrone
(PIK-san-trone)
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 cancer 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 drug used with cytarabine and daunorubicin to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML) that has a mutated (changed) form of a gene called FLT3. It is also used to treat mast cell leukemia (a very rare type of leukemia) and systemic mastocytosis (a rare condition in which there are too many mast cells in the body). It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PKC412 blocks certain proteins, which may help keep cancer cells from growing and may kill them. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. PKC412 is a type of protein kinase inhibitor and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called midostaurin, N-benzoyl-staurosporine, and Rydapt.
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
(pluh-SEE-boh)
An inactive substance or other intervention 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 other intervention 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
(pluh-SEE-boh-kun-TROLD)
Refers to a clinical study in which the control patients receive a placebo.
placenta
(pluh-SEN-tuh)
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
(plan …)
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.
plasmablastic lymphoma
(PLAZ-muh-BLAS-tik lim-FOH-muh)
A very aggressive (fast-growing) type of large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system). It is most common in patients with HIV infection, but may also occur in patients whose immune system is suppressed for other reasons.
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 has special training 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
(PLAYT-let)
A tiny, disc-shaped piece of cell that is found in the blood and spleen. Platelets are pieces of very large cells in the bone marrow called megakaryocytes. They help form blood clots to slow or stop bleeding and to help wounds heal. Having too many or too few platelets or having platelets that don’t work as they should can cause problems. Checking the number of platelets in the blood may help diagnose certain diseases or conditions. Also called thrombocyte.
platelet-derived growth factor
(PLAYT-let-deh-RIVED grothe 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.
Platinol
(PLA-tih-nol)
A brand name for cisplatin, which is used to treat certain types of bladder, ovarian, and testicular cancer. Platinol brand has been taken off the market and is no longer available.
platinum
(PLA-tih-num)
A metal that is an important component of some anticancer drugs, such as cisplatin and carboplatin.
platinum refractory cancer
(PLA-tih-num reh-FRAK-tor-ee KAN-ser)
Cancer that does not respond to treatment with anticancer drugs that contain the metal platinum, such as cisplatin and carboplatin.
platinum resistant cancer
(PLA-tih-num reh-ZIH-stunt KAN-ser)
Cancer that responds at first to treatment with drugs that contain the metal platinum, such as cisplatin and carboplatin, but then comes back within a certain period. For example, ovarian cancer that comes back within 6 months after treatment is considered platinum resistant. Knowing whether cancer is platinum resistant may help plan further treatment.
platinum sensitive cancer
(PLA-tih-num SEN-sih-tiv KAN-ser)
Cancer that responds to treatment with anticancer drugs that contain the metal platinum, such as cisplatin and carboplatin. Some cancers that respond to treatment but then come back after a certain period may also be considered platinum sensitive. For example, ovarian cancer that comes back 6 or more months after platinum-based treatment is considered platinum sensitive. Knowing whether cancer is platinum sensitive may help plan further treatment.
Plenaxis
(pleh-NAK-sis)
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
(PLEE-oh-MOR-fik)
Occurring in various distinct forms. In terms of cells, having variation in the size and shape of cells or their nuclei.
pleomorphic liposarcoma
(PLEE-oh-MOR-fik LIH-poh-sar-KOH-muh)
A rare, fast-growing type of cancer that begins in fat cells. It usually forms in the deep soft tissues of the arms or legs, but it may also form in the abdomen or chest. Pleomorphic liposarcoma often recurs (comes back) after treatment and spreads to other parts of the body, including the lungs. It usually occurs in older adults, and is rare in children and adolescents. Pleomorphic liposarcoma is a type of soft tissue sarcoma.
plerixafor
(pleh-RIK-suh-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
(PLOOR-ul KA-vuh-tee)
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
(PLOOR-ul eh-FYOO-zhun)
An abnormal collection of fluid between the thin layers of tissue (pleura) lining the lung and the wall of the chest cavity.
pleurectomy
(ploo-REK-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, fast-growing cancer that forms in the tissues of the lung and pleura (the thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the inside of the chest). It may also form in the organs between the lungs, including the heart, aorta, and pulmonary artery, or in the diaphragm. Pleuropulmonary blastoma may sometimes spread to other parts of the body, especially to the brain. It usually occurs in infants and young children. Some patients with pleuropulmonary blastoma have mutations (changes) in a gene called DICER1.
pleuropulmonary blastoma familial cancer syndrome
(PLOOR-oh-PUL-muh-NAYR-ee blas-TOH-muh fuh-MIH-lee-ul KAN-ser SIN-drome)
A rare, inherited disorder that increases the risk of pleuropulmonary blastoma (a rare, fast-growing cancer that forms in the tissues of the lung and chest cavity). Pleuropulmonary blastoma familial cancer syndrome may cause cysts in the kidney and lung, thyroid problems, and cancers of the ovary, testicle, kidney, and soft tissue. It may also cause other cancers and benign (not cancer) conditions. This syndrome may be caused by a mutation (change) in a gene called DICER1.
plexiform fibrohistiocytic tumor
(PLEK-sih-form FY-broh-HIS-tee-oh-SIH-tik TOO-mer)
A rare tumor found mainly in children and young adults. It usually forms in the skin on the arms and legs. It is slow-growing and usually does not spread to other parts of the body. It is a type of soft tissue tumor.
plexiform neurofibroma
(PLEK-sih-form NOOR-oh-fy-BROH-muh)
A nerve that has become thick and misshapen due to the abnormal growth of cells and tissues that cover the nerve.
plexopathy
(plek-SAH-puh-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
(PLUH-mer-VIN-sun SIN-drome)
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-puh-tent)
Able to mature or develop in any of several ways.
pluripotent stem cell
(ploo-RIH-puh-tent ...)
A cell that is able to develop into many different types of cells or tissues in the body.
PLX4032
A drug used to treat Erdheim-Chester disease (a very rare type of histiocytosis) and advanced melanoma. It is used in patients whose disease has a mutated (changed) form of a gene called BRAF. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PLX4032 blocks certain proteins made by the mutated BRAF gene, which may help keep cancer cells from growing. It is a type of kinase inhibitor and a type of targeted therapy agent. Also called BRAF (V600E) kinase inhibitor RO5185426, RG7204, vemurafenib, and Zelboraf.
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.
PML gene
(… jeen)
A gene that makes the promyelocytic leukemia (PML) protein, which helps control cell growth and cell division. Mutations (changes) in the PML gene can occur when a piece of the chromosome containing the PML gene breaks off and joins with a gene called RARA on another chromosome. These changes may cause too many immature white blood cells to build up in the blood and bone marrow. This can lead to an aggressive (fast-growing) type of acute myeloid leukemia called acute promyelocytic leukemia. The PML gene is a type of tumor suppressor gene. Also called promyelocytic leukemia gene.
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 drug used in the emergency treatment of patients who receive too much fluorouracil or capecitabine (types of anticancer drugs). It is also used in the emergency treatment of heart or central nervous system (CNS) toxicity or other serious side effects that occur within 4 days of ending treatment with fluorouracil or capecitabine. PN401 may help protect healthy cells from some of the side effects caused by certain anticancer drugs. It is a type of cytoprotective agent. Also called triacetyluridine, uridine triacetate, and Vistogard.
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-MA-tik LAYR-inx)
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.
pneumothorax
(NOO-moh-THOR-ax)
An abnormal collection of air in the space between the thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and the chest cavity. This can cause all or part of the lung to collapse. A pneumothorax may be caused by a chest injury, certain medical procedures, lung disease, or other damage to lung tissue. Sometimes the cause of a pneumothorax is not known. The most common symptoms are sudden chest pain and trouble breathing. Some types of pneumothorax may go away on their own, but others may be life threatening.
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 has special training in diagnosing and treating foot and ankle problems.
polifeprosan 20 carmustine implant
(PAH-lee-FEH-proh-san … kar-MUS-teen IM-plant)
A drug used with surgery and radiation therapy to treat malignant glioma that is high grade and has not already been treated. It is also used with surgery to treat glioblastoma multiforme that has recurred (come back). Polifeprosan 20 carmustine implant is a form of carmustine contained in a wafer. The wafer has a coating that dissolves slowly and releases carmustine directly into the area where the brain tumor was removed. This form may have fewer side effects and work better than other forms of carmustine. Polifeprosan 20 carmustine implant is a type of alkylating agent. Also called carmustine implant and Gliadel Wafer.
poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase
(PAH-lee (... RY-bose) puh-LIH-meh-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 (... RY-bose) puh-LIH-meh-rays in-HIH-bih-ter)
A substance that blocks an enzyme in cells called PARP. PARP helps repair DNA when it becomes damaged. DNA damage may be caused by many things, including exposure to UV light, radiation, certain anticancer drugs, or other substances in the environment. In cancer treatment, blocking PARP may help keep cancer cells from repairing their damaged DNA, causing them to die. Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors are a type of targeted therapy. Also called PARP inhibitor.
poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1
(PAH-lee (… RY-bose) puh-LIH-meh-rays-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.
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
(pah-lee-SY-klik AYR-oh-MA-tik HY-droh-KAR-bun)
A type of chemical formed when coal, oil, gas, garbage, tobacco, meat, and other substances are burned. These chemicals are also made for use in many products, including coal tar, creosote, roofing tar, pesticides, mothballs, dandruff shampoos, and some medicines. Being exposed to one of these chemicals over a long time may cause cancer. Also called PAH.
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-KAYR-ee-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.
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.
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-LIH-meh-rays chayn ree-AK-shun)
A laboratory method used to make many copies of a specific piece of DNA from a sample that contains very tiny amounts of that DNA. Polymerase chain reaction allows these pieces of DNA to be amplified so they can be detected. Polymerase chain reaction may be used to look for certain changes in a gene or chromosome, which may help find and diagnose a genetic condition or a disease, such as cancer. It may also be used to look at pieces of the DNA of certain bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms to help diagnose an infection. Also called PCR.
polymeric enteral nutrition formula
(PAH-lih-MAYR-ik EN-teh-rul noo-TRIH-shun FOR-myoo-luh)
A nutritional drink that may help people who cannot get everything they need in their diet from foods and other drinks. It may be taken by mouth or given through a small tube inserted through the nose into the stomach or the small intestine. It may also be given through a small tube that is put into the stomach or intestinal tract through an opening made on the outside of the abdomen. One example of a polymeric enteral nutrition formula is Ensure. Polymeric enteral nutrition formula is a type of dietary supplement.
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-noo-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.
polypeptide
(PAH-lee PEP-tide)
A substance that contains many amino acids (the molecules that join together to form proteins).
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 mixture that is prepared from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It contains substances called catechins, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage caused by certain chemicals that may increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. Polyphenon E is being studied in the prevention of cancer and other diseases. It is a trademarked product of Mitsui Norin Co., Ltd.
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-RAH-lih-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
(PAH-muh-LIH-doh-mide)
A drug that is a form of thalidomide, and is used to treat multiple myeloma that has not gotten better with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pomalidomide may help the immune system kill cancer cells. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of immunomodulating agent and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called CC-4047 and Pomalyst.
Pomalyst
(PAH-muh-list)
A drug that is a form of thalidomide, and is used to treat multiple myeloma that has not gotten better with other anticancer drugs. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pomalyst may help the immune system kill cancer cells. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. It is a type of immunomodulating agent and a type of antiangiogenesis agent. Also called CC-4047 and pomalidomide.
pomegranate
(PAH-meh-GRA-nut)
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.
ponatinib hydrochloride
(poh-NA-tih-nib HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It is used in patients whose cancer has the T315I mutation or whose cancer cannot be treated with other tyrosine kinase inhibitors. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Ponatinib hydrochloride blocks BCR-ABL and other proteins, which may help keep cancer cells from growing and may kill them. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. Ponatinib hydrochloride is a type of tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a type of angiogenesis inhibitor. Also called Iclusig.
pons
(ponz)
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 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
(POR-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
(POR-fih-roh-MY-sin)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticancer antibiotics.
port
(port)
A device used to draw blood and give treatments, including intravenous fluids, drugs, or blood transfusions. The port is placed under the skin, usually in the chest. It is attached to a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) that is guided (threaded) into a large vein above the right side of the heart called the superior vena cava. A port may stay in place for many weeks or months. A needle is inserted through the skin into the port to draw blood or give fluids. Also called port-a-cath.
port-a-cath
(port-uh-cath)
A device used to draw blood and give treatments, including intravenous fluids, drugs, or blood transfusions. The port is placed under the skin, usually in the chest. It is attached to a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) that is guided (threaded) into a large vein above the right side of the heart called the superior vena cava. A port-a-cath may stay in place for many weeks or months. A needle is inserted through the skin into the port to draw blood or give fluids. Also called port.
portal hypertension
(POR-tul 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 intestines, spleen, pancreas, and gallbladder. Also called hepatic portal vein.
Portrazza
(por-TRA-zuh)
A drug used with gemcitabine and cisplatin to treat squamous non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients whose cancer has not been treated with other anticancer therapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Portrazza binds to a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is found on some types of cancer cells. Blocking this protein may help keep cancer cells from growing. Portrazza is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called necitumumab.
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 test result
(PAH-zih-tiv ... reh-ZULT)
A test result that shows that a person has the disease, condition, or biomarker for which the test is being done. In genetics, a positive test result usually means that a person has a mutation (change) in the gene, chromosome, or protein that is being tested. More testing may be needed to make a diagnosis or to make sure a positive test result is correct.
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 taken up. Because cancer cells often take up more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body. Also called PET scan.
positron emission tomography-computed tomography scan
(PAH-zih-tron ee-MIH-shun toh-MAH-gruh-fee-kum-PYOO-ted-toh-MAH-gruh-fee skan)
A procedure that combines the pictures from a positron emission tomography (PET) scan and a computed tomography (CT) scan. The PET and CT scans are done at the same time with the same machine. The combined scans give more detailed pictures of areas inside the body than either scan gives by itself. A positron emission tomography-computed tomography scan may be used to help diagnose disease, such as cancer, plan treatment, or find out how well treatment is working. Also called PET-CT scan.
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
(pos-TEER-ee-er PEL-vik eg-ZEN-teh-RAY-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 reversible encephalopathy syndrome
(pos-TEER-ee-er ree-VER-sih-bul en-SEH-fuh-LAH-puh-thee SIN-drome)
A rare condition marked by headaches, vision problems, mental changes, seizures, and swelling in the brain. The symptoms of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome usually come on quickly and can be serious and life threatening. When treated, symptoms often go away within days or weeks. Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome may occur in patients with certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, eclampsia, severe infection, kidney disease, and certain autoimmune diseases. It may also occur in patients treated with certain anticancer drugs and immunosuppressive drugs. Also called PRES, reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome, and RPLS.
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).
post-marketing surveillance trial
(post-MAR-keh-ting ser-VAY-lents TRY-ul)
A type of clinical trial that studies the side effects caused over time by a new treatment after it has been approved and is on the market. These trials look for side effects that were not seen in earlier trials and may also study how well a new treatment works over a long period of time. Post-marketing surveillance trials may include thousands of people. Also called phase IV clinical trial.
postmenopausal
(post-MEH-nuh-PAW-zul)
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
(post-MOR-tem)
After death. Often used to describe an autopsy.
postoperative
(post-AH-pruh-tiv)
After surgery.
postprandial
(post-PRAN-dee-ul)
After a meal.
postremission therapy
(post-reh-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.
post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder
(post-TRANZ-plant LIM-foh-proh-LIH-feh-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.
potassium
(puh-TA-see-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
(puh-TA-see-um hy-DROK-side)
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.
Poteligeo
(poh-teh-LIH-gee-oh)
A drug used to treat mycosis fungoides or Sezary syndrome (types of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma) that came back or did not get better after treatment with at least one systemic therapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Poteligeo binds to a protein called CCR4, which is found on some T cells (a type of white blood cell) and some types of lymphoma cells. Poteligeo may block this protein and help the immune system kill cancer cells. It is a type of monoclonal antibody. Also called mogamulizumab.
potentiation
(poh-TEN-shee-AY-shun)
In medicine, the effect of increasing the potency or effectiveness of a drug or other treatment.
power of attorney
(POW-er ... 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.
PP
A small protein made by the pancreas that helps control the release of other substances made by the pancreas. The amount of PP in the blood increases after a person eats. It may also increase with age, and in certain diseases, such as diabetes and pancreatic cancer. Also called pancreatic polypeptide.
PPAR gamma pathway
(… GA-muh PATH-way)
Describes a group of proteins in a cell that work together to help control how certain genes are expressed and the use of lipids (fats) and glucose (sugar) in the body. Changes in the PPAR gamma pathway may lead to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Drugs or substances that affect this pathway are being studied in the prevention and treatment of cancer and other diseases. Also called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma pathway.
PPI
A substance used to treat certain disorders of the stomach and intestines, such as heartburn and ulcers. PPIs block the actions of an enzyme in the stomach and reduce the amount of acid made in the stomach. Also called proton pump inhibitor.
pPNET
A type of cancer that forms in bone or soft tissue. Also called Ewing sarcoma and peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor.
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 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+
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-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-TREK-sayt)
A drug used to treat peripheral T-cell lymphoma (a fast-growing form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma) that recurred (came back) or did not get better with other anticancer therapy. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Pralatrexate stops cells from using folic acid to make DNA. This may help keep cancer cells from growing and may kill them. Pralatrexate 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-sta-tin)
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-sta-tin 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.
PRCC
A type of kidney cancer that forms in cells that line the small tubes in the kidney that filter waste from the blood and make urine. Most papillary tumors look like long, thin finger-like growths under a microscope. There are two types of PRCC: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 tends to grow slowly and spread to other parts of the body less often than type 2. Patients with a genetic disorder called hereditary papillary renal cancer have an increased risk of type 1 PRCC. Patients with a genetic disorder called hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer have an increased risk of type 2 PRCC. Also called papillary kidney cancer and papillary renal cell carcinoma.
precancerous
(pree-KAN-seh-rus)
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.
precision medicine
(pree-SIH-zhun MEH-dih-sin)
A form of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes, proteins, and environment to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. In cancer, precision medicine uses specific information about a person’s tumor to help diagnose, plan treatment, find out how well treatment is working, or make a prognosis. Examples of precision medicine include using targeted therapies to treat specific types of cancer cells, such as HER2-positive breast cancer cells, or using tumor marker testing to help diagnose cancer. Also called personalized medicine.
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.
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 used to lessen inflammation and lower the body’s immune response. It is used with other drugs to treat leukemia and lymphoma and other types of cancer. It is also used alone or with other drugs to prevent or treat many other conditions. These include conditions related to cancer, such as anemia (a low level of red blood cells), allergic reactions, and loss of appetite. Prednisone is a type of therapeutic glucocorticoid.
pregabalin
(pree-GA-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.
pregnancy
(PREG-nun-see)
The condition between conception (fertilization of an egg by a sperm) and birth, during which the fertilized egg develops in the uterus. In humans, pregnancy lasts about 288 days.
premalignant
(pree-muh-LIG-nunt)
A term used to describe a condition that may (or is likely to) become cancer. Also called precancerous.
premature birth
(PREE-muh-CHOOR berth)
The birth of a baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy. In humans, a normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. The risk of premature birth may be increased by certain health problems in the mother, such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease, or problems during pregnancy. Smoking cigarettes, being exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, drinking alcohol, and taking certain drugs during pregnancy may also increase the risk of a premature birth. Also called preterm birth.
premature death
(PREE-muh-CHOOR deth)
Death that occurs before the average age of death in a certain population. In the United States, the average age of death is about 75 years. Smoking cigarettes and being exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke are leading causes of premature death in the United States. They can increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and many other health problems. Other causes of premature death are injuries and suicide.
premature menopause
(PREE-muh-CHOOR MEH-nuh-pawz)
A condition in which the ovaries stop working and menstrual periods stop before age 40. This can cause fertility problems and symptoms of menopause. There are two types of premature menopause, primary and secondary. Primary premature menopause means that the ovaries do not function normally. This may be because they have been removed by surgery, or it may be caused by some cancer treatments and certain diseases or genetic conditions. In secondary premature menopause, the ovaries are normal but there is a problem getting hormone signals to them from the brain. This is usually caused by diseases of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. Some women with premature menopause sometimes have menstrual periods and may be able to have children. Also called early menopause, ovarian failure, and 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. This can cause fertility problems and symptoms of menopause. Premature ovarian failure means the ovaries do not function normally. This may be because they have been removed by surgery, or it may be caused by some cancer treatments and certain diseases or genetic conditions. Some women with premature ovarian failure sometimes have menstrual periods and may be able to have children. Also called primary ovarian insufficiency.
premenopausal
(pree-MEH-nuh-PAW-zul)
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-KAH-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.
prenatal
(pree-NAY-tul)
Having to do with the time a female is pregnant, before birth occurs. Also called antenatal.
PRES
A rare condition marked by headaches, vision problems, mental changes, seizures, and swelling in the brain. The symptoms of PRES usually come on quickly and can be serious and life threatening. When treated, symptoms often go away within days or weeks. PRES may occur in patients with certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, eclampsia, severe infection, kidney disease, and certain autoimmune diseases. It may also occur in patients treated with certain anticancer drugs and immunosuppressive drugs. Also called posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome, and RPLS.
prescription
(prih-SKRIP-shun)
A doctor's order for medicine or another intervention.
preterm birth
(PREE-term berth)
The birth of a baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy. In humans, a normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. The risk of preterm birth may be increased by certain health problems in the mother, such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease, or problems during pregnancy. Smoking cigarettes, being exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, drinking alcohol, and taking certain drugs during pregnancy may also increase the risk of a preterm birth. Also called premature birth.
pretracheal space
(pree-TRAY-kee-ul spays)
The area in front of the trachea (windpipe).
Prevacid
(PREH-vuh-sid)
A drug that reduces the amount of acid made in the stomach. It is used to treat stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (a condition in which acid from the stomach causes heartburn), and conditions in which the stomach makes too much acid. Prevacid is a type of proton pump inhibitor (PPI). Also called lansoprazole.
prevalence
(PREH-vih-lents)
In medicine, a measure of the total number of people in a specific group who have (or had) a certain disease, condition, or risk factor (such as smoking or obesity) at a specific point in time or during a given period of time. For example, the prevalence of breast cancer may show how many women in the U.S. were diagnosed with breast cancer within the past 10 years, including those who are receiving treatment and those who are considered cured, and are still alive on a certain date.
prevascular space
(pree-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
(pree-VEN-tiv)
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 cancer
(PRY-mayr-ee KAN-ser)
A term used to describe the original, or first, tumor in the body. Cancer cells from a primary cancer may spread to other parts of the body and form new, or secondary, tumors. This is called metastasis. These secondary tumors are the same type of cancer as the primary cancer. Also called primary tumor.
primary care
(PRY-mayr-ee kayr)
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
(PRY-mayr-ee kayr DOK-ter)
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 or Epstein-Barr virus in people who have weakened immune systems, such as in patients with HIV disease.
primary endpoint
(PRY-mayr-ee END-poynt)
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 mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma
(PRY-mayr-ee MEE-dee-uh-STY-nul larj ... sel lim-FOH-muh)
An aggressive (fast-growing) type of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (cancer of the immune system). Primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma develops from B cells in the mediastinum (the area behind the breastbone). It may spread to organs and tissues such as the lungs, pericardium (sac around the heart), liver, gastrointestinal tract, ovaries, adrenal glands, and central nervous system. Most patients with primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma are women who are age 30 to 40 years but it may also occur in older children. Also known as primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma.
primary myelofibrosis
(PRY-mayr-ee 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. This can cause fertility problems and symptoms of menopause. Primary ovarian insufficiency means the ovaries do not function normally. This may be because they have been removed by surgery, or it may be caused by some cancer treatments and certain diseases or genetic conditions. Some women with primary ovarian insufficiency sometimes have menstrual periods and may be able to have children. Also called premature ovarian failure.
primary peritoneal cancer
(PRY-mayr-ee PAYR-ih-toh-NEE-ul KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in the peritoneum (the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers organs in the abdomen), and has not spread there from another part of the body. Primary peritoneal cancer sometimes spreads to the ovary. It is similar to ovarian epithelial cancer and is staged and treated the same way.
primary renal myoepithelial carcinoma
(PRY-mayr-ee REE-nul MY-oh-eh-pih-THEE-lee-ul KAR-sih-NOH-muh)
A rare type of cancer that forms in the kidney. Primary renal myoepithelial carcinoma often grows quickly and spreads to other parts of the body, especially in children. The cancer cells may have a certain genetic change called a translocation (part of one chromosome switches places with part of another chromosome).
primary therapy
(PRY-mayr-ee THAYR-uh-pee)
The first treatment given for a disease. It is often part of a standard set of treatments, such as surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation. When used by itself, primary therapy is the one accepted as the best treatment. If it doesn’t cure the disease or it causes severe side effects, other treatment may be added or used instead. Also called first-line therapy, induction therapy, and primary treatment.
primary treatment
(PRY-mayr-ee TREET-ment)
The first treatment given for a disease. It is often part of a standard set of treatments, such as surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation. When used by itself, primary treatment is the one accepted as the best treatment. If it doesn’t cure the disease or it causes severe side effects, other treatment may be added or used instead. Also called first-line therapy, induction therapy, and primary therapy.
primary tumor
(PRY-mayr-ee TOO-mer)
A term used to describe the original, or first, tumor in the body. Cancer cells from a primary tumor may spread to other parts of the body and form new, or secondary, tumors. This is called metastasis. These secondary tumors are the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. Also called primary cancer.
primitive neuroectodermal tumor
(PRIH-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.
principal investigator
(PRIN-sih-pul in-VES-tih-GAY-ter)
The person(s) in charge of a clinical trial or a scientific research grant. The principal investigator prepares and carries out the clinical trial protocol (plan for the study) or research paid for by the grant. The principal investigator also analyzes the data and reports the results of the trial or grant research. Also called PI.
Prinivil
(PRIH-nih-vil)
A drug used to treat high blood pressure and certain heart conditions. It is also being studied in the prevention and treatment of side effects caused by some anticancer drugs. It blocks certain enzymes that cause blood vessels to constrict (narrow). It is a type of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. Also called lisinopril and Zestril.
prinomastat
(prih-NOH-muh-stat)
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.
probenecid
(proh-BEH-neh-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.
probiotic
(PROH-by-AH-tik)
A live microorganism used as a dietary supplement to help with digestion and normal bowel function. It may also help keep the gastrointestinal (GI) tract healthy. A bacterium found in yogurt called Lactobacillus acidophilus, is the most common probiotic.
procarbazine
(proh-KAR-buh-zeen)
The active ingredient in a drug used with other drugs to treat advanced Hodgkin lymphoma. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Procarbazine damages the cell’s DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of alkylating agent.
procarbazine hydrochloride
(proh-KAR-buh-zeen HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used with other drugs to treat advanced Hodgkin lymphoma. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Procarbazine hydrochloride damages the cell’s DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of alkylating agent. Also called Matulane.
prochlorperazine
(PROH-klor-PAYR-uh-zeen)
A drug used to prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting. It belongs to the family of drugs called antiemetics.
Procrit
(PROH-krit)
A drug used to treat anemia caused by chronic kidney disease, some types of chemotherapy, and an antiviral drug for HIV infection called zidovudine. It is also used to lower the number of donor blood transfusions needed during and after certain types of surgery. Procrit is a form of erythropoietin (a substance naturally made by the kidneys) that is made in the laboratory. It helps the bone marrow make more red blood cells. Procrit is a type of antianemic and a type of erythropoiesis-stimulating agent. Also called epoetin alfa, Epogen, and Retacrit.
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.
proctoscope
(PROK-toh-skope)
A thin, tube-like instrument used to look inside the anus and rectum. A proctoscope has 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.
proctoscopy
(prok-TOS-koh-pee)
A procedure that uses a proctoscope to look inside the anus and 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
(PRAH-jeh-nee)
Offspring; the product of reproduction or replication.
progesterone
(proh-JES-teh-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-zih-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
(proh-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
(PROH-gramd sel deth)
A type of cell death in which a series of molecular steps in a cell lead to its death. This is one method the body uses to get rid of unneeded or abnormal cells. The process of programmed cell death may be blocked in cancer cells. Also called apoptosis.
progression
(pruh-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 the treatment of a disease, such as cancer, that a patient lives with the disease but it does not get worse. In a clinical trial, measuring the progression-free survival is one way to see how well a new treatment works. Also called PFS.
progressive disease
(pruh-GREH-siv dih-ZEEZ)
Cancer that is growing, spreading, or getting worse.
progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis
(pruh-GREH-siv fuh-MIH-lee-ul IN-truh-heh-PA-tik koh-leh-STAY-sis)
A rare, inherited disorder marked by a buildup in the liver of bile (fluid that helps digest fat). This can lead to liver disease and liver failure. It may also increase the risk of liver cancer. Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis is caused by mutations (changes) in certain genes that make proteins needed to help the liver work the way it should. It usually occurs in infants and children. Also called PFIC.
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
(proh-LOO-kin)
A drug used to treat melanoma and renal cell carcinoma (a type of kidney cancer) that have spread to other parts of the body. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Proleukin is a form of interleukin-2 that is made in the laboratory. Proleukin increases the activity and growth of T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes (types of white blood cells). This may help the immune system kill cancer cells. Proleukin is a type of biological response modifier. Also called aldesleukin and recombinant human interleukin-2.
Prolia
(PROH-lee-uh)
A drug used to increase bone mass in certain patients with breast cancer or prostate cancer who have a high risk of breaking bones. It is also used to treat osteoporosis in men and postmenopausal women who have a high risk of breaking bones. Prolia binds to a protein called RANKL, which keeps RANKL from binding to another protein called RANK on the surface of certain bone cells, including bone cancer cells. This may help keep bone from breaking down and cancer cells from growing. Prolia contains the active ingredient denosumab. It is a type of monoclonal antibody.
proliferating
(proh-LIH-feh-RAY-ting)
Multiplying or increasing in number. In biology, cell proliferation occurs by a process known as cell division.
proliferative index
(proh-LIH-feh-ruh-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
(proh-LIM-foh-SIH-tik loo-KEE-mee-uh)
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 thrombocytopenia (a lower-than-normal number of platelets in the blood) in patients with chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura (a condition in which platelets are destroyed by the immune system). It is used in patients who did not get better with corticosteroids, immunoglobulins, or surgery to remove the spleen. Promacta is also used to treat severe aplastic anemia. It is also being studied in the treatment of other conditions and types of cancer. Promacta causes more platelets to be made in the bone marrow. 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.
promyelocytic leukemia gene
(proh-MY-eh-loh-SIH-tik loo-KEE-mee-uh jeen)
A gene that makes the promyelocytic leukemia (PML) protein, which helps control cell growth and cell division. Mutations (changes) in the promyelocytic leukemia gene can occur when a piece of the chromosome containing the promyelocytic leukemia gene breaks off and joins with a gene called RARA on another chromosome. These changes may cause too many immature white blood cells to build up in the blood and bone marrow. This can lead to an aggressive (fast-growing) type of acute myeloid leukemia called acute promyelocytic leukemia. The promyelocytic leukemia gene is a type of tumor suppressor gene. Also called PML gene.
pro-oxidant
(proh-OK-sih-dunt)
A substance that can produce oxygen byproducts of metabolism that can cause damage to cells.
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
(PROH-fih-LAK-sis)
An attempt to prevent disease.
propranolol hydrochloride
(proh-PRAN-uh-lol HY-droh-KLOR-ide)
A drug used under the brand name Hemangeol to treat infantile hemangioma (a benign blood vessel tumor). Propranolol hydrochloride is also used under other brand names to treat high blood pressure, including before surgery for pheochromocytoma, and to treat chest pain (angina), abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia), and several other conditions. It is also being studied in the treatment of other conditions and types of cancer. Propranolol hydrochloride blocks certain receptors on nerve cells and causes blood vessels to relax and dilate (widen). This allows blood to flow more easily and lowers blood pressure and heart rate. Propranolol hydrochloride may also help shrink certain types of vascular tumors. It is a type of beta blocker.
prospective
(pruh-SPEK-tiv)
In medicine, a study or clinical trial in which participants are identified and then followed forward in time.
prospective cohort study
(pruh-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
(prost ...)
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-thays 2)
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.
prostatectomy
(PROS-tuh-TEK-toh-mee)
Surgery to remove part or all of the prostate and some of the tissue around it. Nearby lymph nodes may also be removed. It may be done through an open prostatectomy, in which an incision (cut) is made in the wall of the lower abdomen or the perineum, or by using a laparoscope (a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and lens for viewing).
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.
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-pih-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
(PROS-tuh-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.
prosthetist
(PROS-theh-tist)
A person who has special training in making and fitting artificial body parts, such as arms or legs.
prosthodontist
(pros-thoh-DON-tist)
A dentist who has special training 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
(PROH-tee-uh-some in-HIH-bih-ter)
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 SUB-jekts)
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
(PROH-teen)
A molecule made up of amino acids. Proteins are needed for the body to function properly. They are the basis of body structures, such as skin and hair, and of other substances such as enzymes, cytokines, and antibodies.
protein expression
(PROH-teen ek-SPREH-shun)
Refers to the production of proteins by cells. 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-nays ...)
An enzyme found throughout the body's tissues and organs. Several forms of protein kinase C are involved in many cellular functions. Protein kinase C is being studied in the treatment of cancer. Also called PKC.
protein kinase inhibitor
(PROH-teen KY-nays in-HIH-bih-ter)
A substance that blocks the action of enzymes called protein kinases. There are many different types of protein kinases and they take part in many cell functions. These include cell signaling, growth, and division. Blocking certain protein kinases may help keep cancer cells from growing. Some protein kinase inhibitors, such as imatinib, vemurafenib, and gefitinib, are used to treat cancer.
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-bownd PA-klih-TAK-sil)
A drug used to treat breast cancer that has come back or spread to other parts of the body. It is also used with carboplatin to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer in patients who are not able to have surgery or radiation therapy. It is also used with gemcitabine hydrochloride to treat pancreatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Protein-bound paclitaxel is a form of the anticancer drug paclitaxel and may cause fewer side effects than paclitaxel. It stops cancer cells from growing and dividing, and may kill them. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor and a type of antimicrotubule agent. Also called ABI-007, Abraxane, nanoparticle paclitaxel, and paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulation.
proteinuria
(PROH-teen-YOOR-ee-uh)
Higher-than-normal amount of protein in the urine.
proteogenomics
(PROH-tee-oh-jeh-NOH-mix)
The study of how information about the DNA in a cell or organism relates to the proteins made by that cell or organism. This includes understanding how genes control when proteins get made and what changes occur to proteins after they are made that may switch them on and off. Proteogenomics may help researchers learn more about which proteins are involved in certain diseases, such as cancer, and may also be used to help develop new drugs that block these proteins.
proteoglycan
(PROH-tee-oh-GLY-kan)
A molecule that contains both protein and glycosaminoglycans, which are a type of polysaccharide. Proteoglycans are found in cartilage and other connective tissues.
proteome
(PROH-tee-ome)
The complete set of proteins made by an organism. Proteins are made in different amounts and at different times, depending on how they work, when they are needed, and how they interact with other proteins inside cells. Information about a proteome may be used to help find which proteins are involved in diseases, such as cancer. It may also be used to help develop drugs that block these proteins.
proteomic profile
(PROH-tee-OH-mik PROH-file)
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
(proh-tee-OH-mix)
The study of the structure and function of proteins, including the way they work and interact with each other inside cells.
Protocel
(PROH-toh-sel)
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 have 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-tuh-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 radiation therapy that uses streams of protons (tiny particles with a positive charge) to kill tumor cells. This type of treatment can reduce the amount of radiation damage to healthy tissue near a tumor. It is used to treat cancers of the head and neck and organs such as the brain, eye, lung, spine, and prostate. Proton beam radiation is different from x-ray radiation.
proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging
(PROH-ton mag-NEH-tik REH-zuh-nunts 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.
proton pump inhibitor
(PROH-ton … in-HIH-bih-ter)
A substance used to treat certain disorders of the stomach and intestines, such as heartburn and ulcers. Proton pump inhibitors block the actions of an enzyme in the stomach and reduce the amount of acid made in the stomach. Also called PPI.
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.
protozoal
(PROH-tuh-ZOH-ul)
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 used to treat prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used in patients who have few or no symptoms and whose cancer is castration resistant (has not responded to treatments that lower testosterone levels). Provenge is made from a patient’s immune cells that have been treated in the laboratory with GM-CSF (a type of growth factor) and a protein found on prostate cancer cells. Provenge may help the immune system kill prostate cancer cells. It is a type of cellular adoptive immunotherapy. Also called APC8015 and sipuleucel-T.
proximal
(PROK-sih-mul)
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.
proximal colon
(PROK-sih-mul KOH-lun)
The first and middle parts of the colon. The proximal colon includes the cecum (a pouch that connects the small intestine to the colon), the ascending colon (the right side of the colon), and the transverse colon (the part of the colon that goes across the body between the right and left sides of the colon).
proximal urethra
(PROK-sih-mul yoo-REE-thruh)
The part of the urethra closest to the inside of the body. The urethra is the tube through which urine leaves the body. In women, the proximal urethra is the part near the bladder and in men it is the part that goes through the prostate gland.
proximal urethral cancer
(PROK-sih-mul yoo-REE-thrul KAN-ser)
A rare cancer that forms in the part of the urethra closest to the inside of the body. The cancer often has spread deeply into the tissue.
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.
PRRT
A type of radiation therapy used to treat certain types of neuroendocrine tumors. A radioactive chemical is linked to a peptide (small protein) that targets cancer cells. When this radioactive peptide is injected into the body, it binds to a specific receptor found on some cancer cells. The radioactive peptide builds up in these cells and helps kill the cancer cells without harming normal cells. PRRT is a type of targeted therapy. Also called peptide receptor radionuclide therapy.
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
(… bownts)
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
(… 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.
pseudomyogenic hemangioendothelioma
(SOO-doh-MY-oh-JEH-nik hee-MAN-jee-oh-EN-doh-THEE-lee-OH-muh)
A very rare blood vessel tumor that usually forms on or under the skin of the arms or legs, but it may also form in deeper tissues, such as muscle and bone. These tumors may spread to nearby tissue, but usually do not spread to other parts of the body. There is often more than one tumor, and the tumor may cause pain in the affected area. Pseudomyogenic hemangioendotheliomas may come back after treatment. They are most common in young adult males. Pseudomyogenic hemangioendotheliomas are a type of vascular tumor.
pseudomyxoma peritonei
(SOO-doh-mik-SOH-muh PAYR-ih-TOH-ny)
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
(suh-RY-uh-sis)
A chronic disease of the skin marked by red patches covered with white scales.
psychiatrist
(sy-KY-uh-trist)
A medical doctor who has special training in preventing, diagnosing, and treating 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.
psychology
(sy-KAH-loh-jee)
The study of how the mind works and how thoughts and feelings affect behavior.
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)
In medicine, having to do with the mental, emotional, social, and spiritual effects of a disease, such as cancer. Some of the psychosocial effects of cancer are changes in how a patient thinks, their feelings, moods, beliefs, ways of coping, and relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. There are different kinds of psychosocial support that can help cancer patients, including counseling, education, group support, and spiritual support.
psychosocial support
(SY-koh-SOH-shul suh-PORT)
In medicine, support given to help meet the mental, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of patients and their families. Diseases, such as cancer, can affect a patient’s thoughts, feelings, moods, beliefs, ways of coping, and relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. There are different kinds of psychosocial support that can help cancer patients. These include counseling, education, group support, and spiritual support.
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.
public health insurance
(PUH-blik helth in-SHOOR-ents)
A program run by U.S. federal, state, or local governments in which people have some or all of their healthcare costs paid for by the government. The two main types of public health insurance are Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people aged 65 years or older and people with certain disabilities. Medicaid is a public health insurance program for some individuals and families with a low income or disabilities.
pulmonary
(PUL-muh-NAYR-ee)
Having to do with the lungs.
pulmonary disease
(PUL-muh-NAYR-ee dih-ZEEZ)
A type of disease that affects the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system. Pulmonary diseases may be caused by infection, by smoking tobacco, or by breathing in secondhand tobacco smoke, radon, asbestos, or other forms of air pollution. Pulmonary diseases include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, pneumonia, and lung cancer. Also called lung disorder and respiratory disease.
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 function
(PUL-muh-NAYR-ee FUNK-shun)
A term used to describe how well the lungs work in helping a person breathe. During breathing, oxygen is taken into the lungs, where it passes into the blood and travels to the body’s tissues. Carbon dioxide, a waste product made by the body’s tissues, is carried to the lungs, where it is breathed out. There are different tests to measure pulmonary function. Also called lung function.
pulmonary function test
(PUL-muh-NAYR-ee FUNK-shun …)
A test used to measure how well the lungs work. It measures how much air the lungs can hold and how quickly air is moved into and out of the lungs. It also measures how much oxygen is used and how much carbon dioxide is given off during breathing. A pulmonary function test can be used to diagnose a lung disease and to see how well treatment for the disease is working. Also called lung function test and PFT.
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 has special training in diagnosing and treating diseases of the lungs. Also called pulmonologist.
pulmonary sulcus tumor
(PUL-muh-NAYR-ee SUL-kus 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 has special training in diagnosing and treating diseases of the lungs. Also called pulmonary specialist.
pulmonology
(PUL-muh-NAH-loh-jee)
A branch of medicine that specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system. These diseases include asthma, emphysema, tuberculosis, and pneumonia.
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.
pulse
(puls)
In medicine, the number of times the heart beats within a certain time period, usually a minute. The pulse can be felt at the wrist, side of the neck, back of the knees, top of the foot, groin, and other places in the body where an artery is close to the skin. The resting pulse is normally between 60 and 100 beats a minute in a healthy adult who is at rest. Measuring the pulse gives important information about a person’s health. Also called heart rate.
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)
A procedure in which a small round piece of tissue about the size of a pencil eraser is removed using a sharp, hollow, circular instrument. The tissue is then checked under a microscope for signs of disease. A punch biopsy may be used to check for certain types of cancer, including skin, vulvar, and cervical cancer. It may also be used to check for certain skin conditions and changes that may lead to cancer.
pupil
(PYOO-pul)
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
(pyoor-IN-eh-thol)
A drug used with other drugs to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Purinethol stops cells from making DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimetabolite. Also called mercaptopurine and Purixan.
Purixan
(PYOOR-ee-zan)
A drug used with other drugs to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Purixan stops cells from making DNA and may kill cancer cells. It is a type of antimetabolite. Also called mercaptopurine and Purinethol.
purple clover
(PER-pul KLOH-ver)
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
(PER-pul 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.
PV
The science and practice of continuously reviewing the safety of drugs as they are tested in clinical trials and marketed for use. As part of PV, data about the problems caused by treatment with a drug are collected and analyzed. This process helps find ways to prevent adverse events and improve the safety of drugs. Also called pharmacovigilance.
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.
p-value
(... VAL-yoo)
A term in statistics. It helps show whether a difference found between groups that are being compared is due to chance. A small p-value usually means that the difference between groups is not due to chance alone, but is due to some other factor, such as a treatment one of the groups received. A large p-value usually means that the difference between groups is probably due to chance alone.
PXD101
A drug used to treat peripheral T-cell lymphoma that has come back or has not gotten better with other treatment. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. PXD101 blocks certain enzymes needed for cell division and may kill cancer cells. It may also prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow and may help make cancer cells easier to kill with other anticancer drugs. It is a type of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, a type of angiogenesis inhibitor, and a type of chemosensitizer. Also called Beleodaq and belinostat.
pylorus
(py-LOR-us)
The part of the stomach that connects to the duodenum (first part of the small intestine). The pylorus is a valve that opens and closes during digestion. This allows partly digested food and other stomach contents to pass from the stomach to the small intestine.
pyogenic granuloma
(PY-oh-JEH-nik GRAN-yoo-LOH-muh)
A benign (not cancer) blood vessel tumor that usually forms on the skin. It may also form on mucous membranes and inside capillaries (small blood vessels) or other places on the body. Pyogenic granulomas usually appear as raised, bright red lesions that may grow quickly and bleed a lot. The lesions are sometimes caused by injury or use of certain medicines and often come back after treatment. They usually occur in older children and young adults but may occur at any age. Pyogenic granulomas are a type of vascular tumor. Also called lobular capillary hemangioma.
pyrazine diazohydroxide
(PEER-uh-zeen dy-A-zoh-hy-DROK-side)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer.
pyrazoloacridine
(PEER-uh-ZOH-loh-A-krih-deen)
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
(py-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-ROK-suh-mide)
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors.