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Malignancy

Definition

The term "malignancy" refers to cancerous cells that have the ability to spread to other sites in the body (metastasize) or to invade and destroy tissues. Malignant cells tend to have fast, uncontrolled growth due to changes in their genetic makeup.

Malignant cells that are resistant to treatment may return after all detectable traces of them have been removed or destroyed.

References

Moscow JA, Cowan KH. Biology of Cancer. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 187.


Review Date: 8/14/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Edward Hospital & Health Services
801 S. Washington, Naperville, IL 60540 • (630) 527-3000

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