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Medical Abbreviations


Discover a compilation of the most common medical abbreviations used in oncology.

4 5 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y


4E-binding protein1



5-fluorouridine triphosphate


hypoxia-response element



ATP-binding cassette protein B1

ATP-binding cassette protein C2

ATP-binding cassette protein G2

angiotensin converting enzyme

adaptive cell transfer

adrenocorticotropic hormone


antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity

activities of daily living

activity-induced energy expenditure: the energy spent on physical activity



aromatase inhibitor

American Institute for Cancer Research

autoimmune haemolytic anaemia

adenocarcinoma in situ

angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma

absolute lymphocyte count

anaplastic large-cell lymphoma

aldehyde dehydrogenases

anaplastic lymphoma kinase

alanine aminotransferase

acute myeloid leukaemia (also, acute myelogenous leukaemia and acute myeloblastic leukaemia)

adenosine 5’-monophosphate-activated protein kinase

absolute neutrophil count


alkaline phosphatase

apoptotic protease activating factor 1

adenomatous polyposis coli

antigen-presenting cells

acute promyelocytic leukaemia

automated quantitative protein expression analysis

androgen receptor


Ara-C diphosphate

Ara-C monophosphate

Ara-C triphosphate

ADP ribosylation factor

microarray-based comparative genomic hybridisation


autologous stem cell transplantation

aspartate aminotransferase

arterial thrombotic event

arsenic trioxide

adenosine triphosphate

ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related

tretinoin (all-trans-retinoic acid)

area under the curve. A representation of total drug exposure. The area-under-the-curve is a function of (1) the length of time the drug is present, and (2) the concentration of the drug in blood plasma.


bronchoalveolar lavage

blood-brain barrier

breast cancer

B-cell CLL/lymphoma 7A

B-cell receptor

breast cancer resistance protein

breast conserving surgery

base excision repair

basic fibroblast growth factor 2

Bcl-2 homology 3

basic helix–loop–helix

bioimpedance analysis

twice daily

Burkitt lymphoma

bone marrow

body mass index = body weight (kg) /body height (m2)

blood pressure

body surface area

best supportive care

blood urea nitrogen


continuous infusion

combretastatin A4 phosphate

cutaneous B-cell lymphoma

CREB-binding protein

cluster of differentiation

cladribine monophosphate

cladribine triphosphate

complement-dependent cytotoxicity


cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors

carcinoembryonic antigen

circulating endothelial cell

chromosome 17 centromere

comparative genomic hybridisation

congestive heart failure


confidence interval

carcinoma in situ

chromogenic in situ hybridisation


cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors


chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

total body clearance

peak concentration

chronic myeloid leukaemia (also, chronic myelogenous leukaemia and chronic myeloblastic leukaemia)

chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia


central nervous system


chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


chronic phase


cytopathic effect

creatine phosphokinase


complete response

colorectal cancer

cyclic AMP response-element binding protein

cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma

colony-stimulating factor

colony stimulating factor 1 receptor

average steady state concentration

computed tomography

Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE), developed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the United States of America, is a regularly updated document that provides a standard chart for reporting the severity of adverse events occurring in cancer clinical trials. Despite its widespread use and its utility, the CTCAE has not been validated, and more specific scales may be used for some adverse events.

cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

connective-tissue growth factor

cancer of unknown primary


deoxythymidine monophosphate

death-associated protein kinase

dendritic cell

dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI

deoxycytidine kinase

diet-induced energy expenditure: the energy spent to digest and absorb nutrients


dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry

disease-free survival

denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis


dihydrofolate reductase

disseminated intravascular coagulation

death-inducing signaling complex

diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide

dose-limiting toxicity

diabetes mellitus

differential methylation hybridisation

DNA methyltransferase

DNA methyltransferase inhibitor




dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase

double-strand break

disseminated tumour cell

dual specificity phosphatase 1

dual specificity protein phosphatase 4

deep vein thrombosis





enteropathy associated T-cell lymphoma

Epstein-Barr early RNA

endobronchial ultrasound

Epstein-Barr virus

electrocardiogram: A medical test of the electrical activity of a patient's heart.

extracellular matrix

endothelial cells

event-free survival

A protein growth factor (6 KDa, 53 amino acids) that binds to the Epidermal growth factor receptor. Binding of EGF activates specific growth pathways in some cancer cells and also some normal cells.

epidermal growth factor receptor: the protein found on the surface of most epithelial cells and to which Epidermal growth factor binds, causing a signalling cascade within the cells that eventually leads to cell division.

Drugs that target and inhibit the EGFR, including monoclonal antibodies and low-molecular-weight Tyrosine kinase inhibitors.


The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is a European Union agency, responsible for the scientific evaluation and registration of medicines mainly for use in the European Union.

echinoderm microtubule associated protein like 4

enteral nutrition

early-onset diarrhoea-cholinergic syndrome

end of treatment




erythropoietin receptor

extrapleural pneumonectomy

oestrogen receptor

excision repair cross complement

ETS-related gene

European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism

endoscopic ultrasound


flavone acetic acid

focal adhesion kinase

Food and Drug Administration


predicted % forced expiratory volume in 1 minute

formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded

failure free survival

fibroblastic growth factor

fibroblast growth factor receptor

dihydrofolic acid

tetrahydrofolic acid

follicular lymphoma

febrile neutropenia

fine needle aspiration

fixed paraffin embedded

framework regions

follicle stimulating hormone


factor VIII-related antigen


granulocyte-colony stimulating factor

gamma-aminobutyric acid


glial fibrillary acidic protein

glomerular filtration rate


growth inhibition of 50% of cells

gastrointestinal stromal tumour: a rare type of sarcoma found most often in the wall of the stomach.

gonadotropin-releasing hormone

G protein-coupled receptors

growth factor receptor-bound protein 2

gene encoding growth factor receptor-bound protein 7

glycinamide ribonucleotide formyl transferase



head and neck

highly active antiretroviral therapy

histone acetyltransferase

hepatitis B virus

human chorionic gonadotropin

Healthcare professional.

hepatitis C virus

high dose

histone deacetylase

HDAC inhibitor

high-dose therapy

hand–foot syndrome

hepatocyte growth factor

hypoxia-inducible factors

human immunodeficiency virus

Hodgkin lymphoma

human leukocyte antigen

head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

heterochromatin protein 1

high-power field

human papilloma virus

hazard ratio

health-related quality of life

homologous recombination repair

haematopoietic stem cell transplantation

hypersensitivity reaction

hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma


hemolytic–uremic syndrome


intercellular cell adhesion molecule


International Agency for Research on Cancer

concentration at which growth/activity is inhibited by 50%


isotope dilution mass spectroscopy



interferon gamma

IFN-α receptor


insulin growth factor

insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor

insulin-like growth factor-binding protein

insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-3

IGF-binding proteins



integrin-linked kinase


immunomodulatory drug

intensity modulated radiotherapy

investigational new drug

international normalised ratio: a measure of the time it takes for blood to clot.

insulin receptor


individual patient-based

international prognostic index

International prognostic score

International Prognostic Scoring System

inflammatory response syndrome

interferon stimulating genes

in situ hybridisation

International Thymic Malignancy Interest Group


Janus kinase


Kruppel-like factor 6

Kaposi’s sarcoma


cytotoxic killing of 50% of cells

large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma

lethal dose to 10% of animals

low-dose computed tomography

lactose dehydrogenase

liver function test

luteinising hormone

linear accelerator

lymphoblastic lymphoma

lower limit of normal

latent membrane protein 1

low molecular weight heparin

lymph node

late-onset diarrhoea

loss of heterozygosity

lumbar puncture

lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma

lymphoid tissue

leukotriene B4


left ventricular ejection fraction



metaphase comparative genomic hybridisation

macrophage colony-stimulating factor

monoclonal antibody

monoamine oxidase inhibitors

mitogen-activated protein

mitogen-activated protein kinase

methyl-CpG binding proteins

mantle cell lymphoma

minichromosome maintenance

monocyte chemoattractant protein-1

metastatic colorectal cancer

myeloproliferative disease

multidrug resistance

myelodysplastic syndrome

mitogen-activated protein kinase

multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1

monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance

major histocompatibility complex

major histocompatibility complex I

major histocompatibility complex II

microphthalmia-associated transcription factor

million international units

mutL homolog 1

mixed lymphocyte-peptide culture

monomethylauristatin E

matrix metalloproteinases

mismatch-repair genes

multimodality treatment

MOZ-related factor

monocytic leukemia zinc-finger protein

malignant pleural mesothelioma

metastatic renal cell cancer

magnetic resonance imaging

multidrug-resistance protein

Microsatellite instability

methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction

maximum tolerated dose

mammalian target of rapamycin


multigated acquisition

molecular weight

marginal zone lymphoma


nuclear receptor corepressor

nicotinic acetylcholine receptor

National Cancer Institute

not done


nucleotide excision repair

neuroendocrine tumour

nuclear factor κ B

non-Hodgkin lymphoma

natural killer

natural killer cell

nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma

nitric oxide synthase

neuropeptide Y

neuropilin 1

nicotine replacement therapy

non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug

non-small-cell lung cancer

neurone-specific enolase

normal value


oral nutritional supplementation

overall response rate

overall survival


per os, orally


polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

plasminogen activator inhibitor

poly ADP-ribose polymerase

protease-activated receptors

peripheral blood

peripheral blood stem cell

prophylactic cranial irradiation

polymerase chain reaction restriction

progressive disease

programmed cell death 5

platelet-derived growth factor: a regulator of cell division.

platelet-derived growth factor receptor: a form of tyrosine kinase receptor that receives PDGF.

phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1



positron emission tomography

progression-free survival


progesterone receptor

Philadelphia chromosome-positive

interstitial fluid pressure



protein kinase

pegylated liposomal doxorubicin

placenta growth factor


promyelocytic leukaemia zinc finger

promyelocytic leukaemia

parenteral nutrition

pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour

postoperative radiotherapy


palmar–plantar erythrodysesthesia

partial response

prothrombin time

peripheral T-cell lymphoma

protein transduction domain

phosphatase and tensin homologue

parathyroid hormone

protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor gamma


quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction

quality-adjusted life years

once daily

quality of life

quantitative polymerase chain reaction

Corrected QT interval, a measure of QT interval corrected for heart rate extremes.


retinoic acid–antiphospholipid syndrome

regulatory associated protein of mTOR

retinoic acid receptors

retinoic acid receptor alpha

retinoic acid receptor beta-2

Ras association domain family member 1A

red blood cell

renal cell carcinoma

randomised controlled trials

resting energy expenditure: the energy needed to preserve basic vital functions

Ras homolog enriched in brain


reduced-intensity conditioning regimen

RNA interference

ribonucleotide reductase

receiver operating characteristic

reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome

response rate

ribonucleotide reductase


receptor tyrosine kinase

retinoid X receptor


ribosomal S6 kinase

stereotactic ablative radiotherapy

solitary brain metastasis


squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

stem-cell factor

small-cell lung cancer

stable disease

surface-enhanced laser desorption and ionisation–time of flight mass spectrometry

selective oestrogen receptor modulators

Src-homology 2

sex hormone-binding globulin

short hairpin RNA; short-interfering hairpin

syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone

short interspersed elements

systemic inflammatory response syndrome

signalling lymphocytic activation molecule

sentinel lymph node

silencing mediator of retinoid and thyroid receptors

single nucleotide polymorphism

suppressor of cytokine signalling

summary of product characteristics

The sun protection factor, also known as the SPF, indicates the factor by which the protection against UVB rays is extended by the use of specific sunscreen products.

solitary pulmonary nodule

subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma

squamous cell carcinoma

sleeve resection

single-strand break

superior sulcus tumour

standardised uptake volume



transbronchial needle biopsy

thioredoxin-binding protein 2

typical carcinoid

T-cell receptor

lowest dose that results in no toxicity


thromboembolic event

tube feeding

transcriptional factor AP-2 α

tissue factor pathway inhibitor

transforming growth factor

transforming growth factor-α

transforming growth factor-β

total growth inhibition

three times daily

tumour infiltrating lymphocytes

tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases

tyrosine kinase inhibitor

time to peak concentration

target of methylation-induced silencing

triple negative breast cancer

tumour necrosis factor

tumour necrosis factor-α

tumour, lymph nodes, distant metastases classification

topo-I cleavable complex


tunnelled pleural catheter

total parental nutrition

TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand

thymidylate synthase

tuberous sclerosis

thyroid stimulating hormone

thyroid transcription factor 1

time to progression



UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1A1

upper limit of normal

urokinase-type plasminogen activator

uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase

ubiquitin proteasome pathway


video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery

vascular cell adhesion molecule

vascular cell adhesion molecule-1


volume of distribution

volume doubling time

vascular endothelial growth factor

vascular endothelial growth factor receptor: They are a target for some cancer drugs.

Von Hippel-Lindau

virus-like particle assay


maximum disappearance rate

veno-occlusive disease


vascular-targeting agent

venous thromboembolic event


white blood cell

whole brain radiotherapy

World Cancer Research Fund


XIAP-interacting protein 1


X-ray repair cross-complementing group 1


yeast artificial chromosomes

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