BJC Web Focuses

Tumour microenvironment

Tumour microenvironment

The tumour microenvironment (TME) comprises the spectrum of non-neoplastic cells (for example, fibroblasts and immune/inflammatory cells), vessels and associated matrix contained within a cancer. Far from being just a passive scaffold, it is now well established that the two-way interaction between these stromal components and the tumour cells themselves plays an active, and in many cases crucial, role in modulating tumour growth (through both stimulatory and inhibitory actions).

Credit: J A van der Zee et al. 2012

Immune checkpoint inhibitors

Immune checkpoint inhibitors

Immunotherapies against immune checkpoint inhibitors have rapidly changed treatment paradigms for several major cancers including melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and bladder cancer. In this selection of articles we highlight the expression of one of the key pathways, PD-L1, and its potential for selecting patients for therapy. Additional early markers of response to treatment would be helpful in patient management. Mechanisms inducing PD-L1 and their sites of action are described as well as the sequential use of CTLA4 blocking therapy. New targets and mechanisms of delivery of drugs in combination with conventional treatment and immunological checkpoints are highlighted. Together these give a snapshot of major new developments in the field.

Hot Minireviews


See what scientists world-wide are reading! View the most popular minireviews published in BJC.

The changing landscape of breast cancer prognostic prediction

Changing Landscape BCa

We increasingly recognize that multiple factors influence disease outcome in breast cancer. A series of papers in the BJC shed new lights on how the method of diagnosis (screen detected versus self-detected), timing of initiation of therapy, factors that influence treatment compliance, and molecular features of the cancer contribute to treatment outcome. Understanding these variables that influence survival is critical for making optimal treatment recommendations in the clinic and also defines areas for future research.

New drugs to watch

New Drugs to Watch

There are over 500 new anti-cancer drugs in various stages of clinical development. The BJC remains an important venue to report clinical trial results. The following is a brief selection of recently published trials with promising new drugs to watch.

Melanoma, the great leap forward


Metastatic melanoma has been among the most difficult cancers to treat with limited and highly toxic treatment options. Recent advances in immune checkpoint inhibitors and molecularly targeted drugs have profoundly changed the life expectancy and quality of life of patients with metastatic melanoma. Therapeutic options are broadening for these patients and these recent articles in the BJC illustrate the trajectory of current research.

Web Focus on Systemic Inflammation as a Prognostic Marker

Systemic Inflammation Marker

Systemic signs of inflammation are emerging as valuable biomarkers for prognosis and treatment stratification. This WebFocus features papers showing how simple indicators based on neutrophilia and lymphocytopenia can provide prognostic information in many cancer types and promise significant clinical value.

Clinical significance of MiRNA expression


Tumour MiRNAs - the focus of these articles is on changes during treatment, detection in urine or detection in tumours and how they relate to outcome and prognosis in a wide range of tumour types - pancreatic, prostate, bladder, colon cancer, melanoma, multiple myeloma and peripheral nerve sheath tumours. Though there is a major focus on genetic changes and the targeting of cancer treatment, microRNAs are another significant epigenetic mechanism for regulation in tumour biology that needs to integrated with the genetic profiles.

Web Focus on Cancer Immunotherapy

Cancer Immunotherapy

Exploiting and targeting the immune system are emerging as important therapeutic strategies for cancer.
Here we bring together recent papers covering experimental models as well as early phase human clinical studies and highlighting novel CTL epitopes, cellular therapy approaches, cancer vaccines, and anti-tumour immunoRNases.

Web Focus on Lifestyle


Lifestyle is now known to contribute significantly to global cancer burdens. We highlight here some recent studies and meta-analyses that identify various factors associated with risk of developing cancer.
Both prevention and increased risk have been variously associated with fruit and vegetable or whole grain product intake, meat consumption, and alcohol, and these, along with inadequate physical exercise and obesity are discussed in these papers.