Toggle: English / Spanish
The term "malignancy" refers to the presence of cancerous cells that have the ability to spread to other sites in the body (metastasize) or to invade nearby (locally) and destroy tissues. Malignant cells tend to have fast, uncontrolled growth and DO NOT die normally 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.
Black AR, Cowan KH. Cancer biology and genetics. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 181.
National Cancer Institute. NCI dictionary of cancer terms. Cancer.gov Web site. www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms?cdrid=45771. Accessed October 19, 2016.
- Last reviewed on 8/22/2016
- Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.