Glossary


IPACTR
adenine One of 4 bases that make up DNA
adenoma A non-cancerous tumor
adjuvant Treatment in addition to the primary treatment meant to lower the risk that the cancer will return (for example, adjuvant chemotherapy is chemotherapy that is given secondary to the main treatment, such as surgery)
adrenal glands Endocrine glands located on top of each kidney that produce hormones that help regulate the body
allele One of two or more variations of a gene
androgens Set of hormones often referred to as "male hormones"
apoptosis Programmed cell death in which a cell initiates its own death for the benefit of the organism
autosomal dominant A case in which only one gene is required for a trait to be expressed
carcinoma A cancerous tumor
carrier A person who carries one copy of a mutated gene that may cause disease in that person and his or her children
cells Cells are the basic units of life – in people, cells make up all of the tissues that in turn make a whole person. Cells come in many shapes and sizes and have different functions
cell cycle The entire process a cell undergoes to grow, replicate DNA, and copy itself
chemotherapy A treatment using drugs that kill cancer cells
chromosome Structures found in all cells that together contain all of our DNA
complete penetrance An inherited trait that is expressed in all generations – all individuals who have a copy of the gene will express the trait
Conn Syndrome Characterized by a hormone excess of a group of hormones called mineralcorticoids
Cushing Syndrome Characterized by a hormone excess of a group of hormones called glucocorticoids
cytosine One of 4 bases that make up DNA
de novo mutations Mutations that occur for the first time; refers to the first time cancer occurs in germ cells (egg or sperm)
DNA The molecules inside cells that carry genetic information and pass it from one generation to the next; stands for deoxyribonucleic acid
DNA bases The chemical compounds that make up DNA; they are adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine
dominant The more strongly expressed gene in a gene pair
epidemiology The study of disease patterns across time, including causes and control of disease
feminization Characterized by a hormone excess of a group of hormones called estrogens, or "female hormones"
founder effect The phenomenon of continued inheritance from a common ancestor
genes Sets of instructions made up of DNA that tell the body how to function and determine a person's characteristics
genetic counselor A specially trained health professional who is knowledgeable about inheritance and genetics and can discuss family disease history and risk, as well as pros and cons of genetic testing
genetics The study of genes and their role in inheritance
genotype The exact genetic make-up for a trait – the two genes inherited from parents for any given trait
germ cells Sex cells (female egg and male sperm cells)
germline mutations Mutations that occur in the sex cells (egg or sperm)– they can be spontaneous or inherited – germline mutations exist in all of a person's cells
guanine One of 4 bases that make up DNA
hereditary cancer syndrome A genetic tendency to develop tumors, especially at younger ages than is usual
hormonal syndrome A syndrome that leads to abnormal increases or decreases in a hormone
incidence The number of new cases of a disease diagnosed over a specific amount of time
incomplete/low penetrance An inherited trait that is expressed across generations but is not necessarily expressed by all individuals who carry the gene
inheritance The process by which living things acquire traits and characteristics from their parents
IPACTR A worldwide registry for pediatric adrenocortical tumors; stands for International Pediatric Adrenocortical Tumor Registry
Li-Fraumeni–like syndrome A hereditary cancer syndrome in which individuals in a family have an increased risk of developing cancer in their lifetime
Li-Fraumeni syndrome A hereditary cancer syndrome in which individuals in a family have a very high risk of developing cancer in their lifetime
lymph nodes Small glands found all over the body. They are part of the immune system and help the body fight disease.
mutations Changes in DNA
nucleus The structure in cells that contains all the genetic information, that is, DNA
offspring The new life created as a result of reproduction; we use this term to refer to the creation of a child from two parents
p53 A protein that functions as a tumor suppressor
phenotype An expressed genetic trait
polymorphism A common variation in DNA sequence that may have a positive, negative, or neutral effect
proteins Molecules encoded by genes that are necessary for the body to function properly
radiotherapy The use of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors; also called irradiation and radiation therapy
recessive The less strongly expressed gene in a gene pair
somatic mutations Mutations restricted to tumor cells
sporadic ACT A tumor that arises due to a mutation in the adrenal glands only and has no implications for inheritance
thymine One of 4 bases that make up DNA
TP53 A gene that encodes p53 that is often involved in cancer
transposed DNA When DNA bases are swapped in a gene's sequence
tumor suppressor protein A protein that helps cells from growing out of control and into a tumor; here we refer to p53, though there are others
virilization Characterized by a hormone excess of a group of hormones called androgens, or "male hormones"