Ascites: an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen.
Adjuvant: a drug or agent added to another drug or agent to enhance its medical effectiveness.
Biopsy: a test to confirm the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Cancer: a malignant tumor or growth caused when cells multiply uncontrollably, destroying healthy tissue.
Chemotherapy: the use of chemical agents to treat diseases, infections, or other disorders, especially cancer.
Chole (prefix): bile, bile ducts, gall bladder.
Contraindicate: to state something to be inadvisable while taking certain medication because of a likely adverse reaction.
CT Scan: medical procedure which produces a detailed picture of internal organs and systems.
Cytokine: Soluble factor produced by cells that has an effect on other cells.
Cytology: a branch of biology dealing with the study of cells, especially their structures and functions.
Duodenum: the first short section of the small intestine immediately beyond the stomach.
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA): ELISA is a useful and powerful method in estimating ng/ml to pg/ml ordered materials in the solution, such as serum, urine and culture supernatant.
Endoscope: a long, thin, illuminated optic instrument.
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): A technique used to remove pancreatic cells from the pancreatic duct for analysis, and an opaque dye can be injected to determine, by way of x-rays, if the duct has narrowed or become blocked. ERCP also can be used therapeutically for the placement of a biliary stent to relieve jaundice.
Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): A technique used to determine if cancer has invaded adjacent veins or lymph glands.
Fine needle aspiration (FNA): A long, thin needle is passed through the abdomen, into the pancreas, to remove cells for examination.
Gastrointestinal: relating to the stomach and intestines.
Gemcitabine: a chemotherapeutic agent.
Glucagon: a hormone produced by the pancreas that raises the blood sugar level by promoting the conversion of glycogen to glucose in the liver.
Helical ("Spiral") CT Scan: A diagnostic technique which provides information about the nature and site of the lesion (e.g., pancreatic vs. other periampullary tumors, bile duct tumors), its resectability (e.g., liver metastases, vascular invasion), and vascular anatomy.
Hepatic: relating to or affecting the liver.
Hormone: a chemical substance produced in the body’s endocrine glands or certain other cells that exerts a regulatory or stimulatory effect.
Hypothalamus: a central area on the underside of the brain, controlling involuntary functions such as body temperature and the release of hormones.
Insulin: a hormone secreted by the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas that regulates the level of glucose in the blood. Deficiency in production results in diabetes mellitus.
Interleukin 12: Cytokine that promotes T cell function and tumor cell killing.
Jaundice: a condition in which there is yellowing of the whites of the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes, caused by bile pigments in the blood. Technical name icterus.
Jejunostomy: a surgical operation that creates access from the outside of the body into the middle part of the small intestine so that nourishment can be directly introduced.
Jejunum: the middle part of the small intestine.
Laparoscope: a miniature camera.
Laparoscopy: a diagnostic procedure in which the abdominal cavity is examined by inserting a laparoscope through small incisions in the abdominal wall.
Laparotomy: a surgical incision through the abdominal wall made to allow investigation of an abdominal organ or diagnosis of an abdominal disorder.
Lymph: a fluid containing white cells, chiefly lymphocytes, that is drained from tissue spaces by the vessels of the lymphatic system. It can transport bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells.
Lymphatic System: a network of vessels that transport fluid, fats, proteins, and lymphocytes to the bloodstream as lymph, and remove microorganisms and other debris from tissues.
Lymphocyte: an important cell class in the immune system that produces antibodies and cancerous cells, and is responsible for rejecting foreign tissue.
Malignant: used to describe a tumor that invades the tissue around it and may spread to other parts of the body.
Mesentery: a membrane that supports an organ or body part, especially the double-layered membrane of the peritoneum attached to the back wall of the abdominal cavity that supports the small intestine.
Metastasis: the spread of a cancer from the original tumor to other parts of the body by means of tiny clumps of cells transported by the blood or lymph.
Morbidity: the presence of illness or disease.
Myocardial infarction: the death of a segment of heart muscle, caused by a blood clot in the coronary artery interrupting blood supply.
Palliative: alleviating pain and symptoms without eliminating the cause.
Pancreas: a large elongated glandular organ lying near the stomach. It secretes juices into the small intestine and the hormones insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin into the bloodstream.
Peritoneum: a smooth transparent membrane that lines the abdomen and doubles back over the surfaces of the internal organs to form a continuous sac.
Placebo: A drug or treatment that is designed to look like the medicine being tested but that doesn't have the active ingredient. Placebos are rarely used in cancer treatment trials.
Protocol: An action plan for a clinical trial that includes detailed description of patients who may join the trial, the therapy that will be given, and the care the patients will receive during and after the trial.
Pulmonary: concerning, affecting or associated with the lungs.
Pylorus: the thick muscular ring (sphincter) surrounding the outlet of the stomach into the duodenum.
Radiotherapy: the treatment of disease using radiation X-rays or beta rays directed at the body from an external source or emitted by radioactive materials within the body. Also called radiation and radiation therapy.
Randomization: a method used to prevent bias in research; a computer or a table of random numbers generates treatment assignments, and participants have an equal chance to be assigned to one of tow or more groups (e.g., the control group or the investigational group)
Red blood cell: Oxygen-transporting blood cell.
Relapse: Return of disease or disease progression.
Remission: The period during which no evidence of disease is present.
Renal: relating to or affecting the kidneys.
Resect: to surgically remove.
Salvage therapy: Second-line therapy; used to treat disease that has not responded to initial therapy or relapsed disease.
Stem cell: Parent cell that grows and divides to produce red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Found primarily in the bone marrow, but also in the peripheral blood.
Stem cell transplantation: Therapeutic procedure in which bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are collected, stored, and infused into a patient following high-dose chemotherapy to restore blood cell production.
Stromal cell: Structural cells of the bone marrow that help support and nourish the blood-producing cells.
Somatostatin: a hormone produced in the hypothalamus that inhibits the release of growth hormone.
T cell: Also known as a T lymphocyte. Lymphocyte that plays an important role in immune responses and target cell killing.
T-lymphocytes: (also called T-cells) Cells of the immune system that play a key role in immune responses and targeted cell killing.
Translational research: research that uses basic molecular insights to find new treatments for clinical problems.
White blood cell: Also called a leukocyte. One of the major cell types in the blood. Responsible for immune defenses.