Glossary D

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D1 or D2 disease: metastatic disease; see Staging; see also Whitmore-Jewett Staging

de novo: in a new form or manner

debility: the state of being weak or feeble; infirmity

debulking: reduction of the volume of cancer by one of several techniques; most frequently used to imply surgical removal

definitive local treatment: generally that treatment which includes generally accepted procedures necessary to ultimately produce recovery of the patient. For prostate cancer this is usually considered to include radical prostatectomy, radiation therapy, and cryosurgery.

dendritic cells (DC): cells that process antigens (proteins) and present them to immune lymphocytes called T cells playing a major role in the initiation of the immune response against tumor and other types of abnormal cells; antigen presenting cells; e.g. Provenge® is an investigational therapy employing DC

Denonvillier’s fascia: thin layer of connective tissue that separates prostate and seminal vesicles from rectum

DES: see diethylstilbestrol

DEXA (dual energy X-RAY absorptiometry): a type of bone mineral density radiologic examination using x-ray absorption; see also qCT

dexamethasone (DXM): a synthetic glucocorticoid used primarily in the treatment of inflammatory disorders. It can have both an antiemetic and an anti-prostate cancer effect.

dextrans: a group of glucose polymers made by certain bacteria

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone): an adrenal androgen precursor produced in the adrenal cortex and transformed into testosterone within prostate cells

DHEA-S: the sulfated form of DHEA; sulfation is a chemical process that alters the molecule by adding a sulfur-type group; sulfation occurs in the liver; DHEA-S is a more reliable laboratory test than DHEA

DHT: see dihydrotestosterone

diabetes: a condition in which the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot effectively use the insulin it produces

diabetes mellitus: a severe, chronic form of diabetes caused by insufficient production of insulin and resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

diagnosis (Dx): the evaluation of signs, symptoms and selected test results by a physician to determine the physical and biological causes of the signs and symptoms and whether a specific disease or disorder is involved

diethylstilbestrol (DES): also called stilbestrol – a synthetic hormone with estrogenic properties; a treatment of prostate cancer with activity against AIPC as well as ADPC

differentiation: the use of the differences between prostate cancer cells when seen under the microscope as a method to grade the severity of the disease; well differentiated cells are easily recognized as normal cells, while poorly differentiated cells are abnormal, cancerous and difficult to recognize as belonging to any particular type of cell group

digital rectal examination (DRE): the use by a medical provider of a lubricated and gloved finger inserted into the rectum to feel for abnormalities of the prostate and rectum

dihydrotestosterone (DHT or 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone): a male hormone more potent than testosterone that is converted from testosterone within the prostate by  5 alpha reductase

dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO): a colorless solvent, used to penetrate and convey medications into the tissues

diploid: having one complete set of normally paired chromosomes, i.e., a  normal amount of DNA; diploid  cancer cells tend to grow slowly and respond well to hormone therapy; a diploid number of chromosomes would equal 46, a haploid set would equal 23; see also haploid

dissection: the cutting apart of an organism to examine its structure

distal: away from a point of reference, compare to proximal

distensibility: The ability to enlarge or distend

diuretic: a substance which increases the production and elimination of urine

diurnal: pertaining to the day; having a cyclic nature involving the 24-hour day; prolactin levels are at their peak in the early morning- they have a diurnal variation; calcium utilization appears highest in the evening close to bedtime

DMSO: dimethyl sulfoxide

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): the basic biologically active chemical that defines the physical development and growth of nearly all living organisms; a complex protein that is the carrier of genetic information

docetaxel (Taxotere®): one of a type of chemotherapy agents called taxanes that block microtubule formation during cell division

Doppler: a method in ultrasound imaging to monitor a moving structure or fluid (esp. blood)

dorsal: toward the back

dose volume histogram (DVH): A graph that displays the distribution of the absorbed radiation dose in tissue resulting from the delivery of a particular treatment plan.

dosimetry: Relating to the doses of radiation employed in treating a tumor

double-blind: a form of clinical trial in which neither the physician nor the patient knows the actual treatment which any individual patient is receiving; double-blind trials are a way of minimizing the effects of the personal opinions of patients and physicians on the results of the trial

doubling time: the time that it takes a value (like PSA) to double

down-regulation: the process of reducing or suppressing a response to a stimulus; specifically reduction in a cellular response to a molecule (as insulin) due to a decrease in the number of receptors on the cell surface

downsizing: the use of hormonal or other forms of management  to reduce the volume of prostate cancer in and/or around the prostate prior to attempted curative treatment

downstaging: the use of hormonal or other forms of  management in the attempt to lower the clinical stage of prostate cancer prior to attempted curative treatment (e.g., from stage T3a to stage T2b); this technique is highly  controversial

doxorubicin (trade name Adriamycin®): an anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called anti-tumor antibiotics. It is an anthracycline.

Dpd: deoxypyridinoline (Pyrilinks-D®); a bone resorption marker reflecting breakdown of bone collagen

DRE: see digital rectal examination

dry orgasm: ejaculation without the release of semen

ductal: a tubular bodily canal or passage, especially one for carrying a glandular secretion: a tear duct.

dutasteride (trade name Avodart®): an inhibitor of the enzyme (5 alpha-reductase or 5AR) that stimulates the conversion of testosterone to DHT; used to treat BPH

Dx: standard abbreviation for diagnosis

dysfunction: abnormal or impaired functioning, especially of a bodily system or organ

dysplasia: abnormal development or growth of tissues, organs, or cells; see also PIN


dysuria: painful urination