Cancer Education at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center  

Glossary of Cancer Terms - I

 

ibandronate A drug that is used to prevent and treat osteoporosis, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer that has spread to the bones. It belongs to the family of drugs called bisphosphonates.

IBMFS Inherited bone marrow failure syndrome. A rare disorder in which a person’s bone marrow is unable to make enough blood cells and there is a family history of the same disorder. There are several different inherited bone marrow failure syndromes. Patients with an IBMFS are at high risk of forming acute leukemia or certain solid tumors. Also called inherited bone marrow failure syndrome.

ICI 182780 A drug used to treat certain types of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. ICI 182780 blocks estrogen activity in the body and belongs to the family of drugs called antiestrogens. Also called fulvestrant and Faslodex.

ICI D1694 An anticancer drug that stops tumor cells from growing by blocking the ability of cells to make DNA. It belongs to the family of drugs called thymidylate synthase inhibitors. Also called raltitrexed.

idarubicin An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics. Also called 4-demethoxydaunorubicin.

IDEC-Y2B8 An anticancer drug that is a combination of a monoclonal antibody and a radioisotope (yttrium-90). Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells. Also called yttrium Y90 ibritumomab tiuxetan.

idiopathic Describes a disease of unknown cause.

idiopathic myelofibrosis 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 chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis, agnogenic myeloid metaplasia, primary myelofibrosis and myelosclerosis with myeloid metaplasia.

idiopathic pneumonia syndrome A set of pneumonia-like symptoms (such as fever, chills, coughing, and breathing problems) that occur with no sign of infection in the lung. Idiopathic pneumonia syndrome is a serious condition that can occur after a stem cell transplant.

idoxifene A drug that blocks the effects of estrogen.

idoxuridine A drug that reduces the risk of cancer cell growth by interfering with the cells' DNA.

iFOBT Immunoassay fecal occult blood test. A test to check for blood in the stool. A brush is used to collect water drops from around the surface of a stool while it is still in the toilet bowl. The samples are then sent to a laboratory, where they are checked for a human blood protein. Blood in the stool may be a sign of colorectal cancer. Also called immunochemical fecal occult blood test, immunologic fecal occult blood test and immunoassay fecal occult blood test.

ifosfamide An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents.

IgG-RFT5-dgA A monoclonal antibody linked to a toxic substance. It is being studied in the treatment of melanoma that has spread to distant parts of the body. IgG-RFT5-dgA is made in the laboratory. It can find and kill certain white blood cells that prevent the immune system from killing cancer cells. Also called RFT5-dgA immunotoxin.

IH636 grape seed extract A substance that is being studied for its ability to prevent damage to normal tissue caused by radiation therapy. It belongs to a family of compounds called antioxidants.

IL-1 Interleukin-1. A type of biological response modifier that stimulates immune system cells that fight disease, and is involved in inflammatory responses. There are two forms of IL-1, IL-1 alfa and IL-1 beta. Both forms of IL-1 are produced by the body and can also be made in the laboratory. Also called interleukin-1.

IL-1-alfa Interleukin-1-alfa. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's response to infection and disease). IL-1-alfa stimulates the growth and action of immune system cells that fight disease. IL-1-alfa is normally produced by the body, but it can also be made in the laboratory. Also called interleukin-1-alfa, interleukin-1-alpha and IL-1-alpha.

IL-1-alpha Interleukin-1-alpha. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's response to infection and disease). IL-1-alpha stimulates the growth and action of immune system cells that fight disease. IL-1-alpha is normally produced by the body, but it can also be made in the laboratory. Also called interleukin-1-alpha, interleukin-1-alfa and IL-1-alfa.

IL-11 Interleukin-11. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease) that stimulates immune response and may reduce toxicity to the gastrointestinal system resulting from cancer therapy. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases. Also called interleukin-11 and oprelvekin.

IL-12 Interleukin-12. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease) that enhances the ability of the immune system to kill tumor cells and may interfere with blood flow to the tumor. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases. Also called interleukin-12.

IL-2 Interleukin-2. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease) that enhances the ability of the immune system to kill tumor cells and may interfere with blood flow to the tumor. These substances are normally produced by the body. Aldesleukin is IL-2 that is made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases.

IL-3 Interleukin-3. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease) that enhances the immune system's ability to fight tumor cells. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases. Also called interleukin-3.

IL-4 Interleukin-4. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to disease) that enhances the immune system's ability to fight tumor cells. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases. Also called interleukin-4.

IL-6 Interleukin-6. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to infection and disease). These substances are normally produced by the body, but they can also be made in the laboratory. Also called interleukin-6.

IL-7 Interleukin-7. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to infection and disease) that enhances the immune system's ability to fight tumor cells. IL-7 is made by cells in the bone marrow, and can stimulate T cells and B cells to grow. IL-7 can also be made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases. Also called interleukin-7.

ileostomy An opening into the ileum, part of the small intestine, from the outside of the body. An ileostomy provides a new path for waste material to leave the body after part of the intestine has been removed.

iloprost A substance that is being studied in the prevention of lung cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called prostaglandin analogs.

IM Intramuscular. Within or into muscle. Also called intramuscular.

IM-862 An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

imagery A technique in which the person focuses on positive images in his or her mind.

imaging Tests that produce pictures of areas inside the body.

imaging procedure A method of producing pictures of areas inside the body.

imatinib mesylate A drug used to treat certain types of chronic myelogenous leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Imatinib mesylate blocks the protein made by the bcr/abl oncogene. It belongs to the family of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Also called Gleevec and STI571.

imexon A substance that is being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, breast, prostate, melanoma and multiple myeloma. It belongs to the family of drugs called cyanoaziridine derivatives. Also called Amplimexon.

imipenem An antibiotic drug used to treat severe or very resistant infection. It belongs to the family of drugs called carbapenems.

imiquimod A drug used to treat early basal cell skin cancer and certain other skin conditions. It is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Imiquimod belongs to the family of drugs called biological response modifiers. Also called Aldara.

immature teratoma A rare type of malignant (cancer) germ cell tumor (type of tumor that begins in the cells that give rise to sperm or eggs) that often contains several different types of tissue such as hair, muscle, and bone.

immune adjuvant A drug that stimulates the immune system to respond to disease.

immune complex hemolytic anemia A condition in which the body’s immune system stops red blood cells from forming or causes them to clump together. Immune complex hemolytic anemia can occur in patients who have chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Also called autoimmune hemolytic anemia and immunohemolytic anemia.

immune function Production and action of cells that fight disease or infection.

immune response The activity of the immune system against foreign substances (antigens).

immune system The complex group of organs and cells that defends the body against infections and other diseases.

immune system tolerance The failure of the immune system to respond to an antigen that previously caused an immune response.

immunity The condition of being protected against an infectious disease. Immunity can be caused by a vaccine, previous infection with the same agent, or by transfer of immune substances from another person or animal.

immunization A technique used to cause an immune response that results in resistance to a specific disease, especially an infectious disease.

immunoassay A test that uses the binding of antibodies to antigens to identify and measure certain substances. Immunoassays may be used to diagnose disease. Also, test results can provide information about a disease that may help in planning treatment (for example, when estrogen receptors are measured in breast cancer).

immunoassay fecal occult blood test iFOBT. A test to check for blood in the stool. A brush is used to collect water drops from around the surface of a stool while it is still in the toilet bowl. The samples are then sent to a laboratory, where they are checked for a human blood protein. Blood in the stool may be a sign of colorectal cancer. Also called iFOBT, immunochemical fecal occult blood test, and immunologic fecal occult blood test.

immunochemical fecal occult blood test iFOBT. A test to check for blood in the stool. A brush is used to collect water drops from around the surface of a stool while it is still in the toilet bowl. The samples are then sent to a laboratory, where they are checked for a human blood protein. Blood in the stool may be a sign of colorectal cancer. Also called iFOBT, immunologic fecal occult blood test, and immunoassay fecal occult blood test.

immunocompetence The ability to produce a normal immune response.

immunocompetent Having the ability to produce a normal immune response.

immunocompromised Having a weakened immune system caused by certain diseases or treatments.

immunodeficiency The decreased ability of the body to fight infection and disease.

immunodeficiency syndrome The inability of the body to produce an immune response.

immunoglobulin A protein that acts as an antibody.

immunohemolytic anemia A condition in which the body’s immune system stops red blood cells from forming or causes them to clump together. Immunohemolytic anemia can occur in patients who have chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Also called immune complex hemolytic anemia and autoimmune hemolytic anemia.

immunologic fecal occult blood test iFOBT. A test to check for blood in the stool. A brush is used to collect water drops from around the surface of a stool while it is still in the toilet bowl. The samples are then sent to a laboratory, where they are checked for a human blood protein. Blood in the stool may be a sign of colorectal cancer. Also called iFOBT, immunochemical fecal occult blood test, and immunoassay fecal occult blood test.

immunological adjuvant A substance used to help boost the immune response to a vaccine so that less vaccine is needed.

immunology The study of the body's immune system.

immunomodulation Change in the body's immune system, caused by agents that activate or suppress its function.

immunophenotyping A process used to identify cells, based on the types of antigens or markers on the surface of the cell. This process is used to diagnose specific types of leukemia and lymphoma by comparing the cancer cells to normal cells of the immune system.

immunoscintigraphy An imaging procedure in which antibodies labeled with radioactive substances are given to the person. A picture is taken of sites in the body where the antibody localizes.

immunostimulant A substance that increases the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease.

immunosuppression Suppression of the body's immune system and its ability to fight infections or disease. Immunosuppression may be deliberately induced with drugs, as in preparation for bone marrow or other organ transplantation to prevent rejection of the donor tissue. It may also result from certain diseases such as AIDS or lymphoma or from anticancer drugs.

immunosuppressive Describes the ability to lower immune system responses.

immunosuppressive therapy Therapy used to decrease the body's immune response, such as drugs given to prevent transplant rejection.

immunotherapy Treatment to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight cancer, infections, and other diseases. Also used to lessen certain side effects that may be caused by cancer treatment. Also called biological therapy, biotherapy, biological response modifier therapy and BRM therapy.

immunotoxin An antibody linked to a toxic substance. Some immunotoxins can bind to cancer cells and kill them.

impairment A loss of part or all of a physical or mental ability, such as the ability to see, walk, or learn.

implant A substance or object that is put in the body as a prosthesis, or for treatment or diagnosis.

implant radiation A procedure in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters is placed directly into or near a tumor. Also called brachytherapy, internal radiation and interstitial radiation.

implantable pump A small device installed under the skin to administer a steady dose of drugs.

impotence In medicine, refers to the inability to have an erection of the penis adequate for sexual intercourse. Also called erectile dysfunction.

impotent In medicine, describes the inability to have an erection of the penis adequate for sexual intercourse.

IMRT Intensity-modulated radiation therapy. A type of 3-dimensional radiation therapy that uses computer-generated images to show the size and shape of the tumor. Thin beams of radiation of different intensities are aimed at the tumor from many angles. This type of radiation therapy reduces the damage to healthy tissue near the tumor. Also called intensity-modulated radiation therapy.

in situ cancer Early cancer that has not spread to neighboring tissue.

in vitro In the laboratory (outside the body). The opposite of in vivo (in the body).

in vitro fertilization A procedure in which eggs are removed from a woman’s ovary and combined with sperm outside the body to form embryos. The embryos are grown in the laboratory for several days and then either placed in a woman’s uterus or cryopreserved (frozen) for future use.

in vivo In the body. The opposite of in vitro (outside the body or in the laboratory).

incidence The number of new cases of a disease diagnosed each year.

incision A cut made in the body to perform surgery.

incisional biopsy A surgical procedure in which a portion of a lump or suspicious area is removed for diagnosis. The tissue is then examined under a microscope.

incomplete Freund's adjuvant A drug used in vaccine therapy to stimulate the immune system.

incontinence Inability to control the flow of urine from the bladder (urinary incontinence) or the escape of stool from the rectum (fecal incontinence).

incubated Grown in the laboratory under controlled conditions. For example, white blood cells can be grown in special conditions so that they attack specific cancer cells when returned to the body.

Indian cress Nasturtium officinale. Parts of the flowering plant have been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anticancer effects. Also called watercress.

Indian elm Ulmus fulva or Ulmus rubra. The inner bark of this plant has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have antioxidant effects. Also called slippery elm, gray elm, red elm, sweet elm, Ulmus fulva and Ulmus rubra.

Indian rhubarb Rheum palmatum or Rheum officinale. The root of this plant has been used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems. It may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Also called rhubarb, da-huang, Chinese rhubarb and Turkish rhubarb.

Indian saffron An East Indian plant that is a member of the ginger family and is used as a spice and food color. The underground stems are used in some cultures to treat certain stomach problems. The substance in Indian saffron that gives it a yellow color (curcumin) is being studied in the treatment of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and psoriasis. The scientific name is Curcuma longa. Also called turmeric and jiang huang.

Indian valerian Valeriana officinalis. 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 valerian, garden valerian, Pacific valerian, Mexican valerian, garden heliotrope, Valeriana officinalis and Valerianae radix.

indication In medicine, a sign, symptom, or medical condition that leads to the recommendation of a treatment, test, or procedure.

indinavir A drug that interferes with the ability of a virus to make copies of itself.

indium In 111 ibritumomab tiuxetan A radiolabeled antibody that is being studied in cancer treatment.

indium In 111 pentetreotide An anticancer drug belonging to a family of drugs called radiopharmaceuticals.

indole-3-carbinol A substance that is being studied as a cancer prevention drug. It is found in cruciferous vegetables.

indolent A type of cancer that grows slowly.

indolent lymphoma A type of lymphoma that tends to grow and spread slowly, and has few symptoms. Also called low-grade lymphoma.

indomethacin A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Indomethacin reduces pain, fever, swelling and redness. It is also being used to reduce tumor-induced suppression of the immune system and to increase the effectiveness of anticancer drugs.

induction therapy Treatment designed to be used as a first step toward shrinking the cancer and in evaluating response to drugs and other agents. Induction therapy is followed by additional therapy to eliminate whatever cancer remains.

infection Invasion and multiplication of germs in the body. Infections can occur in any part of the body and can spread throughout the body. The germs may be bacteria, viruses, yeast or fungi. They can cause a fever and other problems, depending on where the infection occurs. When the body’s natural defense system is strong, it can often fight the germs and prevent infection. Some cancer treatments can weaken the natural defense system.

inferior vena cava A large vein that empties into the heart. It carries blood from the legs and feet and from organs in the abdomen and pelvis.

infertile Unable to produce children.

infertility The inability to produce children.

infiltrating breast cancer Cancer that has spread from where it started in the breast into surrounding, healthy tissue. Most infiltrating breast cancers start in the ducts (tubes that carry milk from the lobules to the nipple). Infiltrating breast cancer can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Also called invasive breast cancer.

infiltrating cancer Cancer that has spread beyond the layer of tissue in which it developed and is growing into surrounding, healthy tissues. Also called invasive cancer.

infiltrating ductal carcinoma The most common type of invasive breast cancer. It starts in the cells that line the milk ducts in the breast, grows outside the ducts, and often spreads to the lymph nodes.

inflammation Redness, swelling, pain and/or a feeling of heat in an area of the body. This is a protective reaction to injury, disease or irritation of the tissues.

inflammatory Having to do with inflammation (redness, swelling, pain and a feeling of heat that helps protect tissues affected by injury or disease).

inflammatory bowel disease A general term that refers to the inflammation of the colon and rectum. Inflammatory bowel disease includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

inflammatory breast cancer A type of breast cancer in which the breast looks red and swollen and feels warm. The skin of the breast may also show the pitted appearance called peau d'orange (like the skin of an orange). The redness and warmth occur because the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin.

infliximab A monoclonal antibody that blocks the action of a cytokine called tumor necrosis factor alfa. It is being studied in the treatment and prevention of weight loss and loss of appetite in patients with advanced cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called monoclonal antibodies.

informed consent A process in which a person is given important facts about a medical procedure or treatment, a clinical trial, or genetic testing before deciding whether or not to participate. It also includes informing the patient when there is new information that may affect his or her decision to continue. Informed consent includes information about the possible risks, benefits, and limits of the procedure, treatment, trial or genetic testing.

infrared coagulation A technique in which abnormal tissue is exposed to a burst of infrared light (a type of radiation). This causes blood in veins in the tissue to coagulate (harden) and the abnormal tissue to shrink. It is being studied in the prevention of anal cancer in some patients with HIV.

infrared thermography In medicine, a procedure in which an infrared camera (one that senses heat) is used to measure temperature differences on the surface of the body. The camera makes pictures that show areas of possible abnormal cell growth because abnormal tissue gives off more heat than normal tissue does.

infusion A method of putting fluids, including drugs, into the bloodstream. Also called intravenous infusion.

ingestion Taking into the body by mouth.

inguinal orchiectomy An operation in which the testicle is removed through an incision in the groin.

inhalation In medicine, refers to the act of taking a substance into the body by breathing.

inhaler A device for giving medicines in the form of a spray that is inhaled (breathed in) through the nose or mouth. Inhalers are used to treat medical problems such as bronchitis, angina, emphysema, and asthma. They are also used to help relieve symptoms that occur when a person is trying to quit smoking.

inherited Transmitted through genes that have been passed from parents to their offspring (children).

inherited bone marrow failure syndrome IBMFS. A rare disorder in which a person’s bone marrow is unable to make enough blood cells and there is a family history of the same disorder. There are several different inherited bone marrow failure syndromes. Patients with an IBMFS are at high risk of forming acute leukemia or certain solid tumors. Also called IBMFS.

injection Use of a syringe and needle to push fluids or drugs into the body; often called a "shot."

Innohep A drug that is used with another drug, warfarin, to treat blood clots that form deep in the veins and to prevent new blood clots from forming. It belongs to the family of drugs called anticoagulants. Also called tinzaparin or tinzaparin sodium.

inoperable Describes a condition that cannot be treated by surgery.

inositol A type of sugar that has a different chemical structure than glucose (the chief source of energy for living organisms). It is a basic part of cell membranes, and is important in nerve, brain and muscle function. Inositol is found in many foods that come from plants, and is being studied in the prevention of cancer.

inositol hexaphosphate IP6. 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 phytic acid and IP6.

INS316 A substance that is being studied in the diagnosis of lung diseases, including lung cancer. It helps bring up a sample of mucus from deep in the lungs and improves the quality of the sample for testing. It belongs to the family of drugs called nucleoside triphosphates.

insomnia Difficulty in going to sleep or getting enough sleep.

instillation In medicine, a method used to put a liquid into the body slowly or drop by drop.

Institutional Review Board IRB. A group of scientists, doctors, clergy, and consumers that reviews and approves the action plan for every clinical trial. There is an IRB at every health care facility that does clinical research. IRBs are designed to protect the people who take part in a clinical trial. IRBs check to see that the trial is well designed, legal, ethical, does not involve unneccesary risks and includes safeguards for patients. Also called IRB.

insulin A hormone made by the islet cells of the pancreas. Insulin controls the amount of sugar in the blood by moving it into the cells, where it can be used by the body for energy.

intensification therapy A type of high-dose chemotherapy often given as the second phase (after induction therapy) of a cancer treatment regimen for leukemia. Also called consolidation therapy.

intensity-modulated radiation therapy IMRT. A type of 3-dimensional radiation therapy that uses computer-generated images to show the size and shape of the tumor. Thin beams of radiation of different intensities are aimed at the tumor from many angles. This type of radiation therapy reduces the damage to healthy tissue near the tumor. Also called IMRT.

intercalator In biochemistry, a type of molecule that binds to DNA and inserts itself into the DNA structure. Some intercalators are used as treatments for cancer.

interfering thought An unpleasant memory or idea that occurs often in a person’s everyday thoughts and keeps him or her from thinking about other things. Interfering thoughts can make sleep difficult and make a person unable to carry out daily activities. Also called intrusive thought.

interferon A biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to infections and other diseases). Interferons interfere with the division of cancer cells and can slow tumor growth. There are several types of interferons, including interferon-alpha, -beta and -gamma. The body normally produces these substances. They are also made in the laboratory to treat cancer and other diseases.

interleukin A biological response modifier (substance that can improve the body's natural response to infection and disease) that helps the immune system fight infection and cancer. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases.

interleukin-1 IL-1. A type of biological response modifier that stimulates immune system cells that fight disease and is involved in inflammatory responses. There are two forms of IL-1, IL-1 alfa and IL-1 beta. Both forms of IL-1 are produced by the body, and can also be made in the laboratory. Also called IL-1.

interleukin-1-alfa IL-1-alfa. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's response to infection and disease). IL-1-alfa stimulates the growth and action of immune system cells that fight disease. IL-1-alfa is normally produced by the body, but it can also be made in the laboratory. Also called interleukin-1-alpha, IL-1-alpha and IL-1-alfa.

interleukin-1-alpha IL-1-alpha. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to infection and disease). Interleukin-1-alpha stimulates the growth and action of immune system cells that fight disease. Interleukin-1-alpha is normally produced by the body, but it can also be made in the laboratory. Also called IL-1-alpha, interleukin-1-alfa and IL-1-alfa.

interleukin-11 IL-11. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to infection and disease) that stimulates immune response and may reduce toxicity to the gastrointestinal system resulting from cancer therapy. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases. Also called IL-11 and oprelvekin.

interleukin-12 IL-12. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to infection and disease) that enhances the ability of the immune system to kill tumor cells and may interfere with blood flow to the tumor. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases. Also called IL-12.

interleukin-13 PE38QQR immunotoxin A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is made by combining interleukin-13 with a toxin from Pseudomonas bacteria. It belongs to the family of drugs called recombinant chimeric proteins.

interleukin-2 IL-2. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to infection and disease) that stimulates the growth of certain disease-fighting blood cells in the immune system. These substances are normally produced by the body. Aldesleukin is IL-2 that is made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases.

interleukin-3 IL-3. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to infection and disease) that enhances the immune system's ability to fight tumor cells. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases. Also called IL-3.

interleukin-4 IL-4. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to infection and disease) that enhances the immune system's ability to fight tumor cells. These substances are normally produced by the body. They are also made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases. Also called IL-4.

interleukin-4 PE38KDEL cytotoxin A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is made by combining interleukin 4 with a bacterial toxin, and belongs to the family of drugs called recombinant chimeric proteins. Also called NBI-3001 and interleukin-4 PE38KDEL immunotoxin.

interleukin-4 PE38KDEL immunotoxin A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is made by combining interleukin 4 with a bacterial toxin, and belongs to the family of drugs called recombinant chimeric proteins. Also called NBI-3001 and interleukin-4 PE38KDEL cytotoxin.

interleukin-6 IL-6. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to infection and disease). These substances are normally produced by the body, but they can also be made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases. Also called IL-6.

interleukin-7 IL-7. A type of biological response modifier (a substance that can improve the body's natural response to infection and disease) that enhances the immune system's ability to fight tumor cells. IL-7 is made by cells in the bone marrow, and can stimulate T cells and B cells to grow. IL-7 can also be made in the laboratory for use in treating cancer and other diseases. Also called IL-7.

intermediate-grade lymphoma A type of lymphoma that grows and spreads quickly, and has severe symptoms. It is seen frequently in patients who are HIV-positive (AIDS-related lymphoma). Also called aggressive lymphoma and high-grade lymphoma.

internal examination A physical examination in which the health care professional will feel for lumps or changes in the shape of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum. The health care professional will also use a speculum to open the vagina to look at the cervix and take samples for a PAP test. Also called a pelvic examination.

internal radiation A procedure in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires or catheters is placed directly into or near a tumor. Also called brachytherapy, implant radiation and interstitial radiation.

International unit IU. A unit used to measure the activity of many vitamins, hormones, enzymes and drugs. An IU is the amount of a substance that has a certain biological effect. For each substance there is an international agreement on the biological effect that is expected for 1 IU. Also called IU.

interstitial radiation A procedure in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters is placed directly into or near a tumor. Also called brachytherapy, internal radiation and implant radiation.

intervention group The group receiving the study agent that is being tested in a clinical trial or clinical study.

intestinal Having to do with the intestines.

intestinal villi Tiny hair-like projections that line the inside of the small intestine. They contain blood vessels and help absorb nutrients.

intestine The long, tube-shaped organ in the abdomen that completes the process of digestion. The intestine has two parts, the small intestine and the large intestine. Also called the bowel.

intoplicine An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors.

intoxicating pepper An herb native to islands in the South Pacific. Substances taken from the root have been used in some cultures to relieve stress, anxiety, tension, sleeplessness and problems of menopause. Intoxicating pepper may increase the effect of alcohol and of certain drugs used to treat anxiety and depression. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises users that intoxicating pepper may cause severe liver damage. The scientific name is Piper methysticum. Also called kava kava, rauschpfeffer, tonga and yangona.

intra-arterial Within an artery (blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to tissues and organs in the body).

intracarotid infusion The introduction of fluids and drugs directly into the carotid artery, the main artery in the neck that carries blood from the heart to the brain.

intracavitary Within a cavity or space, such as the abdomen, pelvis or chest.

intracavitary radiation A procedure in which a radioactive source (implant) is placed in a body cavity such as the chest cavity or the vagina.

intracellular Inside a cell.

intracolonic Within the colon.

intracranial tumor A tumor that occurs in the brain.

intracutaneous Within the skin. Also called intradermal.

intradermal Within the skin. Also called intracutaneous.

intraductal carcinoma A noninvasive condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lining of a breast duct. The abnormal cells have not spread outside the duct to other tissues in the breast. In some cases, intraductal carcinoma may become invasive cancer and spread to other tissues, although it is not known at this time how to predict which lesions will become invasive. Also called ductal carcinoma in situ and DCIS.

intraductal papilloma A benign (noncancerous), wart-like growth in a milk duct of the breast. It is usually found close to the nipple and may cause a clear, sticky or bloody discharge from the nipple. It may also cause pain and a lump in the breast that can be felt or seen. It usually affects women aged 35-55 years. Having an intraductal papilloma does not increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

intraepithelial Within the layer of cells that form the surface or lining of an organ.

intrahepatic Within the liver.

intrahepatic bile duct A bile duct that passes through and drains bile from the liver.

intrahepatic infusion The delivery of anticancer drugs directly to the blood vessels of the liver.

intralesional Within a cancerous area, for example, within a tumor in the skin.

intraluminal intubation and dilation A procedure in which a plastic or metal tube is inserted through the mouth into the esophagus (the tube that carries food to the stomach) to keep it open. This procedure may be used during radiation therapy for esophageal cancer.

intramuscular IM. Within or into muscle. Also called IM.

intramuscular injection Injection into muscle.

intraocular Within the eyeball.

intraocular melanoma A rare cancer of melanocytes (cells that produce the pigment melanin) found in the eye. Also called ocular melanoma.

intraoperative radiation therapy IORT. Radiation treatment aimed directly at a tumor during surgery. Also called IORT.

intrapelvic Within the pelvis, the lower part of the abdomen between the hip bones.

intraperitoneal IP. Within the peritoneal cavity (the area that contains the abdominal organs). Also called IP.

intraperitoneal chemotherapy Treatment in which anticancer drugs are put directly into the abdominal cavity through a thin tube.

intraperitoneal infusion A method of delivering fluids and drugs directly into the abdominal cavity through a thin tube. Also called peritoneal infusion.

intraperitoneal radiation therapy Treatment in which a radioactive liquid is put directly into the abdomen through a thin tube.

intrapleural Within the pleural cavity.

intraspinal Within the spine (backbone).

intrathecal Describes the fluid-filled space between the thin layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord. Drugs can be injected into the fluid or a sample of the fluid can be removed for testing.

intrathecal chemotherapy Treatment in which anticancer drugs are injected into the fluid-filled space between the thin layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord.

intratumoral Within a tumor.

intravaginal Having to do with the inside of the vagina (the birth canal).

intravenous IV. Within a blood vessel. Also called IV.

intravenous infusion A method of putting fluids, including drugs, into the bloodstream. Also called infusion.

intravenous injection IV. Injection into a vein.

intravenous pyelogram IVP. A series of X-rays of the kidneys, ureters and bladder. The X-rays are taken after a dye is injected into a blood vessel. The dye is concentrated in the urine, which outlines the kidneys, ureters and bladder on the X-rays. Also called IVP and intravenous pyelography.

intravenous pyelography IVP. X-ray study of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. The X-rays are taken after a dye is injected into a blood vessel. The dye is concentrated in the urine, which outlines the kidneys, ureters and bladder on the X-rays. Also called IVP and intravenous pyelogram.

intraventricular infusion The delivery of a drug into a fluid-filled cavity within the heart or brain.

intravesical Within the bladder.

intrusive thought An unpleasant memory or idea that occurs often in a person’s everyday thoughts and keeps him or her from thinking about other things. Interfering thoughts can make sleep difficult and make a person unable to carry out daily activities. Also called interfering thought.

invasive breast cancer Cancer that has spread from where it started in the breast into surrounding, healthy tissue. Most invasive breast cancers start in the ducts (tubes that carry milk from the lobules to the nipple). Invasive breast cancer can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Also called infiltrating breast cancer.

invasive cancer Cancer that has spread beyond the layer of tissue in which it developed and is growing into surrounding, healthy tissues. Also called infiltrating cancer.

invasive cervical cancer Cancer that has spread from the surface of the cervix to tissue deeper in the cervix or to other parts of the body.

invasive hydatidiform mole A type of cancer that grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. It is formed after conception (fertilization of an egg by a sperm). It may spread to other parts of the body, such as the vagina, vulva and lung. Also called chorioadenoma destruens.

invasive procedure A medical procedure that invades (enters) the body, usually by cutting or puncturing the skin or by inserting instruments into the body.

inverted papilloma A type of tumor in which surface epithelial cells grow downward into the underlying supportive tissue. It may occur in the nose and/or sinuses or in the urinary tract (bladder, renal pelvis, ureter, urethra). When it occurs in the nose or sinuses, it may cause symptoms similar to those caused by sinusitis, such as nasal congestion. When it occurs in the urinary tract, it may cause blood in the urine.

investigational In clinical trials, refers to a drug (including a new drug, dose, combination, or route of administration) or procedure that has undergone basic laboratory testing and received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be tested in human subjects. A drug or procedure may be approved by the FDA for use in one disease or condition, but be considered investigational in other diseases or conditions. Also called experimental.

investigational drug A substance that has been tested in a laboratory and has gotten approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be tested in people. A drug may be approved by the FDA for use in one disease or condition but be considered investigational in other diseases or conditions. Also called an experimental drug.

investigator A researcher in a clinical trial or clinical study.

inviable Not able to survive.

involuntary nervous system The part of the nervous system that controls muscles of internal organs (such as the heart, blood vessels, lungs, stomach and intestines) and glands (such as salivary glands and sweat glands). One part of the involuntary nervous system helps the body rest, relax and digest food and another part helps a person fight or take flight in an emergency. Also called autonomic nervous system or ANS.

iodine An element that is necessary for the body to make thyroid hormone. It is found in shellfish and iodized salt.

iodine I 131 metaiodobenzylguanidine 131I-MIBG. A radioactive substance that is used in imaging tests, and is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a type of radiopharmaceutical. Also called 131I-MIBG.

iodine I 131 monoclonal antibody BC8 A monoclonal antibody that contains the radioactive substance iodine I131. It is being studied in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and can locate and bind to cancer cells. Iodine I 131 monoclonal antibody BC8 binds to the protein CD45, which is found on most white blood cells and myeloid and lymphoid leukemia cells.

iodine I 131 tositumomab A monoclonal antibody (tositumomab) that has been chemically changed by adding radioactive iodine, and that is used in the treatment of certain types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It belongs to the family of drugs called radioconjugated monoclonal antibodies. When iodine I 131 tositumomab and tositumomab are given together, the combination is called the Bexxar regimen.

iododoxorubicin A substance that is being studied as a treatment for cancer and for primary systemic amyloidosis (a disease in which proteins are deposited in specific organs). It is a type of anthracycline antitumor antibiotic.

ionizing radiation A type of radiation made (or given off ) by X-ray procedures, radioactive substances, rays that enter the Earth's atmosphere from outer space, and other sources. At high doses ionizing radiation increases chemical activity inside cells and can lead to health risks, including cancer.

ionomycin An antibiotic drug used to treat infection.

IORT Intraoperative radiation therapy. Radiation treatment aimed directly at a tumor during surgery. Also called intraoperative radiation therapy.

IP Intraperitoneal. Within the peritoneal cavity (the area that contains the abdominal organs). Also called intraperitoneal.

IP6 Inositol hexaphosphate. 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 phytic acid and inositol hexaphosphate.

ipilimumab A monoclonal antibody being studied in the treatment of certain types of cancer. Ipilimumab is made in the laboratory and binds to the molecule CTLA-4 on T cells (a type of white blood cell). Ipilimumab may block CTLA-4 and help the immune system kill cancer cells. Also called MDX-010.

ipsilateral Having to do with the same side of the body.

IRB Institutional Review Board. A group of scientists, doctors, clergy, and consumers that reviews and approves the action plan for every clinical trial. There is an IRB at every health care facility that does clinical research. IRBs are designed to protect the people who take part in a clinical trial. IRBs check to see that the trial is well designed, legal, ethical, does not involve unneccesary risks and includes safeguards for patients. Also called Institutional Review Board.

Iressa A drug that is used to treat certain types of non-small cell lung cancer and is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Also called ZD1839 and gefitinib.

irinotecan An anticancer drug that belongs to a family of drugs called topoisomerase inhibitors. It is a camptothecin analog. Also called CPT 11.

irofulven An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called alkylating agents. Also called 6-hydroxymethylacylfulvene.

iron An important mineral the body needs to make hemoglobin, a substance in the blood that carries oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body. Iron is also an important part of many other proteins and enzymes needed by the body for normal growth and development. It is found in red meat, fish, poultry, lentils, beans and foods with iron added, such as cereal.

irradiated Treated with radiation.

irradiation The use of high-energy radiation from X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy) or from materials called radioisotopes. Radioisotopes produce radiation and can be placed in or near the tumor or in the area near cancer cells. This type of radiation treatment is called internal radiation therapy, implant radiation, interstitial radiation or brachytherapy. Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that circulates throughout the body. Irradiation is also called radiation therapy, radiotherapy and X-ray therapy.

irreversible toxicity Side effects that are caused by toxic substances or something harmful to the body and do not go away.

iseganan hydrochloride A substance that is being studied as a treatment for oral mucositis (painful mouth sores) caused by cancer therapy. It belongs to the family of drugs called synthetic protegrin analogs.

islet cell A pancreatic cell that produces hormones (e.g., insulin and glucagon) that are secreted into the bloodstream. These hormones help control the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Also called endocrine pancreas cell and islet of Langerhans cell.

islet cell carcinoma A rare cancer that forms in the islets of Langerhans cells (a type of cell found in the pancreas). Also called pancreatic endocrine cancer.

islet of Langerhans cell A pancreatic cell that produces hormones (e.g., insulin and glucagon) that are secreted into the bloodstream. These hormones help control the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Also called endocrine pancreas cell and islet cell.

isoflavone An estrogen-like substance made by some plants, including the soy plant. Soy isoflavones are being studied in the prevention of cancer, hot flashes that occur with menopause and osteoporosis (loss of bone density).

isointense Having the same intensity as another object. Used to describe the results of imaging tests, such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans.

isolated hepatic perfusion A procedure in which a catheter is placed into the artery that provides blood to the liver; another catheter is placed into the vein that takes blood away from the liver. This temporarily separates the liver's blood supply from blood circulating throughout the rest of the body and allows high doses of anticancer drugs to be directed to the liver only.

isolated limb perfusion A technique that may be used to deliver anticancer drugs directly to an arm or leg. The flow of blood to and from the limb is temporarily stopped with a tourniquet, and anticancer drugs are put directly into the blood of the limb. This allows the person to receive a high dose of drugs in the area where the cancer occurred. Also called limb perfusion.

isolated lung perfusion A surgical procedure during which the circulation of blood to the lungs is separated from the circulation of blood through the rest of the body, and a drug is delivered directly into the lung circulation. This allows a higher concentration of chemotherapy to reach tumors in the lungs.

isolation State of being separated from others. Isolation is sometimes used to prevent disease from spreading.

isomer One of two or more compounds that have the same chemical formula but different arrangements of the atoms within the molecules and that may have different physical/chemical properties.

isotretinoin A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called retinoids. It is used in the treatment of acne and psoriasis and is being studied in cancer prevention. Also called 13-cis retinoic acid.

ispinesib A substance being studied in the treatment of cancer. Ispinesib blocks a protein that tumor cells need to divide. It is a type of mitotic inhibitor. Also called SB-715992.

isthmus A narrow part inside the body that connects two larger structures.

itraconazole A drug used to prevent or treat fungal infections. It belongs to the family of drugs called antifungal agents.

IU International unit. A unit used to measure the activity of many vitamins, hormones, enzymes, and drugs. An IU is the amount of a substance that has a certain biological effect. For each substance there is an international agreement on the biological effect that is expected for 1 IU. Also called international unit.

IV Intravenous (IN-truh-VEE-nus). Injected into a blood vessel. Also called intravenous.

IVP Intravenous pyelogram or intravenous pyelography (in-tra-VEE-nus PYE-el-o-gram or pye-LAH-gra-fee). A series of X-rays of the kidneys, ureters and bladder. The X-rays are taken after a dye is injected into a blood vessel. The dye is concentrated in the urine, which outlines the kidneys, ureters and bladder on the X-rays. Also called intravenous pyelogram and intravenous pyelography.

ixabepilone A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called epothilone analogs. Also called BMS-247550.

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
Higley Road and US 60
2946 E. Banner Gateway Drive
Gilbert, AZ 85234
(480) 256-6444
(855) 256-6444

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