exposure to DNA-damaging agents in the environment.
Mutations can be harmful or bene;cial, or have no e;ect.
If they occur in cells that make eggs or sperm, they can be
inherited; if mutations occur in other types of cells, they are
not inherited. Certain mutations may lead to cancer or other
Nanodrug A medicine composed of a therapeutic and
a carrier that is less than 100 nanometers in size; for
comparison, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers
thick. For anticancer nanodrugs, the carrier is designed
in such a way that it enhances delivery of the anticancer
therapeutic to the cancer and protects the therapeutic from
being destroyed by the body’s defenses during transport.
National Cancer Institute (NCI) ;e largest of the 27
research-focused institutes and centers of the National
Institutes of Health. ;e NCI coordinates the National
Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research,
training, health information dissemination, and other
programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention,
and treatment of cancer; rehabilitation from cancer; and the
continuing care of cancer patients and their families.
Neoadjuvant therapy Treatment given to shrink a patient’s
tumor prior to treatment that is intended to be curative,
which usually includes surgery. Neoadjuvant therapy may be
chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, targeted
therapy, and/or biological therapy.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma A term for a large group of
cancers that arise in B cells or T cells (see B cell and T cell,
respectively). Non-Hodgkin lymphomas can be aggressive
(fast-growing) or indolent (slow-growing) types. B-cell
non-Hodgkin lymphomas include Burkitt lymphoma,
di;use large B-cell lymphoma, and mantle cell lymphoma
(see Burkitt lymphoma, Di;use large B-cell lymphoma,
and Mantle cell lymphoma, respectively). Anaplastic large
cell lymphoma is one example of a T-cell non-Hodgkin
lymphoma (see Anaplastic large cell lymphoma).
Non–small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) A group of lung
cancers that are named for the kinds of cells found in the
cancer and how the cells look under a microscope. ;e three
main types of non–small cell lung cancer are squamous
cell carcinoma, large cell carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma.
Non–small cell lung cancer is the most common kind of
Oncogene A mutated (changed) form of a gene involved
in normal cell growth. Oncogenes may cause the growth of
cancer cells. Mutations in genes that become oncogenes can
be inherited or can result from exposure to substances in
the environment that cause cancer. ;e normal form of an
oncogene is called a (proto)oncogene.
Oncolytic virus A virus that can preferentially infect and
lyse (break down) cancer cells. Oncolytic viruses can occur
naturally or can be made in the laboratory by changing
Oral cancer ;e term given to a group of cancers that arise
in cells of the mouth (the oral cavity) or the part of the
throat at the back of the mouth (the oropharynx). ;e oral
cavity includes the lips, the inside lining of the lips and
cheeks, the gums, the front two-thirds of the tongue, the
;oor of the mouth below the tongue, and the bony roof of
the mouth. ;e oropharynx is the part of the throat just
behind the mouth (see Oropharyngeal cancer); it includes
the back third of the tongue, the back part of the roof of the
mouth, the tonsils, and the side and back walls of the throat.
Oropharyngeal cancer ;e term given to the subgroup of
oral cancers (see Oral cancer) that arise in cells of the part
of the throat at the back of the mouth (the oropharynx). ;e
oropharynx includes the back third of the tongue, the back
part of the roof of the mouth, the tonsils, and the side and
back walls of the throat.
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 that make the digestive
;uids, and the most common of these cancers are called
adenocarcinomas. Cancers that arise in the pancreatic cells
that help control blood sugar levels are called pancreatic
Papanicolaou (Pap) test A test on a sample of cells taken
from a woman’s cervix. ;e test is used to look for changes
in the cells that indicate cervical cancer or conditions
that may develop into cancer. It is the best tool to detect
precancerous conditions and hidden, small tumors that may
ultimately develop into cervical cancer.
Pathologic complete response ;e absence of any detectable
residual invasive cancer in a surgical specimen a;er presurgery
(neoadjuvant) treatment (see Neoadjuvant therapy).
Peripheral T-cell lymphoma A term for a group of rare,
aggressive (fast-growing) non-Hodgkin lymphomas that
begin in mature T cells (see T cell). Anaplastic large cell
lymphoma is one example of a peripheral T-cell lymphoma
(see Anaplastic large cell lymphoma). Also called mature
Personalized cancer medicine ;e tailoring of treatments to
the individual characteristics—in particular, the genetics—
of each patient and her or his cancer. Also called precision
cancer medicine, molecularly based cancer medicine,
individualized cancer medicine, tailored cancer medicine,
and genetic cancer medicine.
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. ;e 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; most typically associated with the colon.
Prevalence ;e 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 survival.