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GIST Support International - Glossary of Terms
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malignantCancerous. A tumor having the properties to invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
melenaThe passage of black, tarry stools indicating the presence of blood in the feces. This may be a symptom of GIST.
mesenchymalGeneral term for soft non-organ tissues. It includes the connective tissues, collagen, neural tissue, smooth and skeletal muscle, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and fat.
mesenteryThe membranes (part of the peritoneum) that connect the small intestines to the back abdominal wall and provide blood supply, lymph drainage, and nerves.
metastasis(noun), metastasize (verb). Metastasis is the spread of cancer to another site in the body via cancer cells circulating in the blood or lymph. GIST metastasis is usually blood-borne, as GIST rarely invades lymph nodes.
mitosisOrdinary division of a body cell (a somatic cell) to form two daughter cells, each with the same chromosome complement as the parent cell. It is the process by which the body grows and replaces cells. NOTE: The term mitosis is used interchangeably with cell division, but strictly speaking it refers to nuclear division.
mitotic countThe mitotic count is a value that the pathologist obtains by examining a section or specimen of a tumor under the high-powered lens of a microscope. Usually the pathologist will report the number of dividing cells as seen in every fifty fields of view (hpf's). The lower the number the better in the case of cancer cells.
morphologyThe form and structure of a particular organism, organ, or part.
mucosalPertaining to the mucous lining of various tubular structures (including the gastrointestinal tract).
multifocalWhen used in reference to tumors, multifocal means a group of several tumors that appear to have started individually (not spread from a single original tumor). This is often true of GIST in children, familial GIST, and GIST in NF1 patients.
mutationA permanent transmissible change in genetic material, usually in a single gene. A mutation occurs when a DNA gene is damaged or changed in such a way as to alter the genetic message. This change may occur within a gene or involve larger regions of a chromosome. Mutations within single genes are actual chemical changes to the nucleotide sequences of the constituent DNA. In chromosomal mutations, the number of chromosomes may be altered, or segments of chromosomes may be lost, amplified or rearranged. Mutations can be caused by copying errors in the genetic material during cell division and by exposure to radiation, chemicals, or viruses, or can occur deliberately under cellular control during the processes such as meiosis or hypermutation. In multicellular organisms, mutations can be subdivided into germline mutations, which can be passed on to progeny and somatic mutations, which (when accidental) often lead to the malfunction or death of a cell and can cause cancer. Some germline mutations result in adaptive advantages for species survival, and are considered to be the driving force of evolution.
myenteric plexus(also called Auerbach's plexus) A network of nerve fibers and neuron cell bodies tucked in among the interstices of the fibers in the tunica muscularis (muscular, usually middle, layer of an anatomical structure). The plexus is an important component of the entire digestive tract. It is found not only in the stomach, but in the esophagus and intestines as well. Importantly for GIST, interstitial cells of Cajal from which GIST may originate, are found in the myenteric plexus (as well as in other locations). The following PubMed link shows an illustration of the location of the myenteric plexus between the circular and longitudinal muscle layers of the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. linkhere
myoblastAn undifferentiated or embryonic precursor cell, capable of giving rise to a muscle cell (muscle fiber). From myo- pertaining to muscle, and blast- a formative unit of living matter: a bud, sprout, or germ.

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