A substance that can be detected in higher-than-normal amounts in the blood, urine, or body tissues of some patients with certain types of cancer. A tumor marker may be made by a tumor itself, or it may be made by the body as a response to the tumor. Tumor marker tests are not used alone to detect and diagnose cancer because most tumor markers can be elevated in patients who don’t have a tumor, because no tumor marker is entirely specific to a particular type of cancer, and because not every cancer patient has an elevated tumor marker level, especially in the early stages of cancer, when tumor marker levels are usually still normal. Although tumor markers are typically imperfect as screening tests to detect occult (hidden) cancers, when a particular tumor has been found with a marker, the marker can be a means of monitoring the success or failure of treatment. The tumor marker level may also reflect the extent (stage) of the disease, indicate how quickly the cancer is likely to progress, and help determine the outlook. Examples of tumor markers include alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), prostate specific antigen (PSA), and neuron-specific enolase (NSE).
Resembling marble. For example, the bone in osteoporosis appears marmoreal. From the Latin noun “marmor” meaning “marble.”
- Marriage, cousin
A form of consanguinity. Everyone carries recessive alleles, genes that are generally innocuous in the heterozygous state but that in the company of another gene of the same type are capable of causing disease. We are all genetic reservoirs for genetic disease. Since first cousins share a set of grandparents, for any particular allele (gene) […]
- Marshall-Smith syndrome
A disorder characterized by advanced bone age at birth, broad forehead, prominent eyes, and small chin. There is difficulty feeding, failure to thrive, retarded psychomotor development, and predisposition to respiratory infection. It may be fatal within the first years of life. The cause of the syndrome is unknown. It is named for Richard E. Marshall […]
- Marx, Gertie F.
Distinguished German-born American physician known as the “mother of obstetric anesthesia.” She almost singlehandedly developed obstetric anesthesiology as a specialty. She advanced the use of epidural injections to ease women’s pain during childbirth. She developed an epidural needle that bears her name and she was the founding editor of Obstetric Anesthesia Digest. Dr. Marx died […]
- MASA syndrome
lumbar lordosis (sway back). MASA is inherited as an X-linked trait and so affects mainly boys. Alternative names for MASA include clasped thumb and mental retardation, congenital clasped thumb with mental retardation, adducted thumb with mental retardation, and the Gareis- Mason syndrome.