Glossary M

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M0,M1,Mx: notation of observed metastases, see staging.

MAB (maximal androgen blockade): see CHT, CHB, ADT

macromolecules: a very large molecule, such as a polymer or protein, consisting of many smaller structural units linked together. Also called supermolecule

macrophage: a subset of white blood cells that ingest bacteria, foreign substances, proteins and process them, often presenting them to T cells; one of a kind of antigen presenting cell; see dendritic cells

MAD (maximal androgen deprivation): see ADT, CHB, CHT, TAB, MAB

magnetic resonance: absorption of specific frequencies of radio and microwave radiation by atoms placed in a strong magnetic field

magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):  the use of magnetic resonance with atoms in body tissues to produce distinct cross-sectional, and even three-dimensional images of internal organs

malignancy: a growth or tumor composed of cancerous cells

malignant: cancerous; tending to become progressively worse and to result in death; having the invasive and metastatic (spreading) properties of cancer

margin: normally used to mean the "surgical margin”, which is the outer edge of the tissue removed during surgery; if the surgical margin shows no sign of cancer ("negative margins"), then the prognosis is better

marker: a diagnostic indication that disease may be present or may develop

MCF-7: human breast cancer cell line

mcg (micrograms): A unit of mass equal to one thousandth (10-3) of a milligram or one millionth (10-6) of a gram

MCP: modified citrus pectin; a substance that is able to interfere with PC growth by preventing cell-cell interaction and adhesiveness by binding to a carbohydrate substance called galectin-3 found on the surface of tumor cells

M-CSF: macrophage colony-stimulating factor

MDR gene: the multi-drug resistance gene; a gene that cells utilize to pump substances such as chemotherapy out of the cell across the cell membrane. The increase in the MDR gene is felt to be a tumor mechanism to overcome the effect of chemotherapy. Nizoral® and tamoxifen decrease MDR activity.

medical oncologist: a physician primarily trained in the use of medicines (rather than surgery) to treat cancer

metabolism, adj. metabolic: the organic processes (in a cell or organism) that are necessary for life

metabolite: a substance necessary for or taking part in a particular metabolic (chemical) process in the body

metaphase: Phase of mitosis, or cell division, when the chromosomes align along the center of the cell. Because metaphase chromosomes are highly condensed, scientists use these chromosomes for gene mapping and identifying chromosomal aberrations.

metastasis: (plural metastases) a secondary tumor formed as a result of a cancer cell or cells from the primary tumor site (e.g., the prostate) traveling through the body to a new site and then growing there

metastasize: spread of a malignant tumor to other parts of  the body

metastatic: having the characteristics of a secondary tumor formed as a result of a cancer cell or cells from the primary tumor site (e.g., the prostate) traveling through the body to a new site and then growing there

metastatic work up: a group of tests, including physical examination, bone scans, X-rays, other imaging studies and blood tests to ascertain whether cancer has metastasized

Metastron®: the brand or trade name of strontium-89, a radioactive isotope used in the treatment of bone pain from metastatic prostate cancer

mg (milligram): a unit of mass equal to one thousandth (10-3) of a gram

micromets, micrometastatic cells: microscopic cancer cells in other parts of the body that are similar to those of the original tumor

microtubules: tiny fibers that are basic to DNA structure that assists in the process of cell division

microvessel density: an objective measure of angiogenesis (blood vessel formation)

midgland: the section between the apex and base of the prostate

misstaging: the assignment of an incorrect clinical stage at initial diagnosis because of the difficulty of assessing the available information with accuracy

mitochondria: A spherical or elongated organ in the cytoplasm of nearly all eukaryotic cells, containing genetic material and many enzymes important for cell metabolism, including those responsible for the conversion of food to usable energy

mitosis, mitotic: a process of cell division in which chromosomes separate into two parts, one part of each chromosome is retained in each of two new daughter

mitoxantrone (Novantrone®): a drug used to treat advanced prostate cancer that does not respond to hormones. It is also being studied in the treatment of other cancers. It belongs to the family of drugs called antitumor antibiotics.

MMP-2: matrix metalloprotease-2 (PC cell product involved in angiogenesis)

modality: a therapeutic method or agent, such as surgery, chemotherapy, or electrotherapy, that involves the physical treatment of a disorder

molecular biology: the branch of biology focused on the formation, structure, and function of DNA, RNA and proteins, and their roles in the transmission of genetic information

monoclonal: formed from a single group of identical cells

monocyte: largest of the white blood cells which migrates into the connective tissue where it differentiates into a macrophage

monotherapy: a treatment that uses one major drug or one major modality of treatment; androgen deprivation therapy using only an LHRH agonist is an example of monotherapy.

morbidity: unhealthy consequences and complications resulting from treatment

morphology, morphologic: a branch of biology that deals with the form and structure of animals and plants

morphometry, morphometric: the quantitative measurement of the form and distribution of parts, especially in living systems

mortality: (1) the quality of being subject to death; (2) the number of deaths in a given time or place or the proportion of deaths to population

motility: the ability to move spontaneously

MRI: see magnetic resonance imaging

MRI/MRSI: the integration of magnetic resonance imaging with magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging. See our paper The Role of Combined MRI & MRSI in Treating Prostate Cancer

mRNA: messenger RNA; see RNA.

MRS: magnetic resonance spectroscopy

mucin: the main part of mucus that protects body surfaces from rubbing or wearing down

mucosa: superficial lining cells involving body cavities like the mouth, rectum, bladder; a membrane lining all body passages that communicate with the air, such as the respiratory and alimentary tracts, and having cells and associated glands that secrete mucus

multifocal, multifocality: arising from or pertaining to many locations

multileaf collimator (MLC): A type of collimator that can define irregularly shaped radiation fields. An MLC has two rows of narrow metal blocks (leaves) that can be independently driven in or out of the radiation beam from opposite sides under computer control

multileaf intensity modulating collimator (MIMIC): A multileaf collimator designed specifically for intensity modulated radiotherapy. The MIMiC treats two slices, each 1 or 2 cm thick with a fan beam of radiation, when the linear accelerator gantry rotates through an arc around the patient. The patient couch is moved to treat adjacent slices if the target is too large to treat with a single arc;  see tomotherapy

murine: from or pertaining to mice

mutate, mutation: change in the genetic material (DNA) inside the cell

myalgia: muscle aches, pain or tenderness