Glossary of Medical Terms

retinoic acid

A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Retinoic acid is made in the body from vitamin A and helps cells to grow and develop, especially in the embryo. A form of retinoic acid made in the laboratory is put on the skin to treat conditions such as acne and is taken by mouth to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (a fast-growing cancer in which there are too many immature blood-forming cells in the blood and bone marrow). Retinoic acid is being studied in the prevention and treatment of other types of cancer. Also called all-trans retinoic acid, ATRA, tretinoin, and vitamin A acid.

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