Pancreatic cancer - A group of cancers that start in cells of the pancreas, an
organ located behind the stomach. Most pancreatic cancers begin in cells in the
pancreas that make the “juice” that helps digest food, and the most common of
these cancers are called adenocarcinomas. Pancreatic cancers that arise in the
cells of the pancreas that help control blood sugar levels are called pancreatic
Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases (PI3Ks) - A family of proteins that work inside
cells to send signals that direct numerous cellular functions, including cell
growth, proliferation, and survival. The gene that encodes one component of one
PI3K is mutated, resulting in an inappropriately active protein in many types of
cancer, including some breast cancers.
Polyp - A benign growth that protrudes from a mucous membrane.
Prevalence - The number or percent of people alive on a certain date in a
population who previously had a diagnosis of the disease. It includes new
(incidence) and pre-existing cases, and it is a function of both past incidence and
Programmed death- 1 (PD1) - A protein on the surface of immune cells called T
cells (see T cell). When PD1 attaches to programmed death ligand- 1 (PDL1) on
other immune cells, it sends signals into the T cells to tell them to slow down and
stop acting aggressively. Thus, PD1 acts as an immune checkpoint protein.
Prostate Cancer - A form of cancer that starts in tissues of the prostate (a gland
in the male reproductive system found below the bladder and in front of the
rectum). In men, it is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second most
common cause of death from cancer.
Prostatic Specific Antigen (PSA) - A protein secreted by the prostate gland,
increased levels of which are found in the blood of patients with cancer of the
Protein - A molecule made up of amino acids that is needed for the body to
Radiation - Energy released in the form of particle or electromagnetic waves.
Common sources of radiation include radon gas, cosmic rays from outer space,
medical x-rays, and energy given off by a radioisotope (unstable form of a
chemical element that releases radiation as it breaks down and becomes more
Radiotherapy - The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays,
neutrons, protons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation
therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near
cancer cells (internal radiation therapy). Systemic radiotherapy uses a radioactive
substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that travels in the blood
to tissues throughout the body. Also called irradiation and radiation therapy.
Receptor - A protein in a cell that attaches to specific molecules, like hormones,
from outside the cell, in a lock-and-key manner, producing a specific effect on
the cell, for example, initiating cell proliferation. Receptors are most commonly
found spanning the membrane surrounding a cell but can be located within cells.
Renal cell carcinoma - The most common type of kidney cancer. It begins in
the lining of the renal tubules in the kidney. The renal tubules filter the blood and
produce urine. Also called hypernephroma, renal cell adenocarcinoma, and renal
Signaling pathway/signaling network - A group of molecules in a cell that
work together to control one or more cell functions, such as cell proliferation or
cell death. After the first molecule in a pathway receives a signal, it activates
another molecule. This process is repeated until the last molecule is activated
and the cell function involved is carried out. Abnormal activation of signaling
pathways can lead to cancer, and drugs are being developed to block these
pathways. This may help block cancer cell growth and kill cancer cells.
Standard of care - The intervention or interventions generally provided for
a certain type of patient, illness, or clinical circumstance. The intervention is
typically supported by evidence and/or expert consensus as providing the best
outcomes for the given circumstance.
Surrogate endpoint - A biomarker (see Biomarker) intended to substitute for a
clinical endpoint (see Endpoint). Surrogate markers are used when the primary
endpoint is undesired (e.g., death), or when the number of events is very small,
thus making it impractical to conduct a clinical trial to gather a statistically
significant number of endpoints. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and
other regulatory agencies will often accept evidence from clinical trials that show
a direct clinical benefit to surrogate markers.
T cell - A type of immune cell that protects the body from invading
microorganisms and other foreign substances, and destroys infected and
malignant cells. A T cell is a type of white blood cell. Also called T lymphocyte.
Therapeutic vaccine - A type of therapy that uses a substance or group of
substances to stimulate the immune system to destroy a tumor or infectious
microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses.
Tumor - An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than
they should or do not die when they should. Tumors may be benign (not cancer),
or malignant (cancer); also called neoplasm.
Tumor microenvironment - The cells, molecules, and blood vessels that
surround and feed a cancer cell. A cancer can change its microenvironment, and
the microenvironment can affect how a tumor grows and spreads.
Tumor suppressor gene - A type of gene that makes a protein called a tumor
suppressor protein that helps control cell growth. Mutations (changes in DNA) in
tumor suppressor genes may lead to cancer. Also called antioncogene.
Vaccine - A substance or group of substances meant to cause the immune
system to respond to a tumor or to microorganisms, such as bacteria or
viruses. A vaccine can help the body recognize and destroy cancer cells or
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) – A family of signaling proteins that
bind to molecules called VEGF receptors, found mostly on the surface of cells
lining blood and lymphatic vessel walls, causing an increase in the number or
branches of blood and lymphatic vessels.