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Volume 1 Issue 1, January 2020

Volume 1 Issue 1

Understanding the complexities of cancer

Our inaugural issue highlights the complexities of cancer, featuring articles on cancer evolution, heterogeneity and population-specific disparities, identifying cancer drivers and the origins of metastasis-initiating cells. Highlighting diverse aspects of immunotherapy are studies on sensitizing tumors to immune-checkpoint blockade, improving predictors of response and devising therapeutic trispecific antibodies.

See Editorial

Image: concept by Lucia Morgado-Palacin. Cover Design: Allen Beattie.


  • Editorial |

    Cancer is a multifaceted global health issue that continues to demand action. We are launching Nature Cancer to inform, inspire and convene scientists across the multidisciplinary arena of cancer research, aiming to advance biomedical knowledge and treatment strategies within the greater framework of society.

Comment & Opinion

  • Comment |

    Intratumoral genetic heterogeneity of driver somatic mutations is present in a variety of tumor types, yet the extent of heterogeneity is variable. We propose that this variation is a reflection of the inherent biology of a given tumor type, representing the pace of metastatic dissemination and hence clinical disease course.

    • Christine A. Iacobuzio-Donahue
    • Kevin Litchfield
    • Charles Swanton
  • Q&A |

    Norman E. ‘Ned’ Sharpless became director of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 2017. From April 2019, he served as acting commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and he returned to the NCI in November. Douglas R. Lowy has been the principal deputy director of the NCI since 2010, having also served as acting director twice, most recently in 2019. Nature Cancer spoke with both last fall to learn more about what makes NCI and its leadership tick.

    • Alexia-Ileana Zaromytidou
  • Viewpoint |

    Cancer research in recent years has been marked by significant developments in understanding disease biology and foundational discoveries that have changed clinical practice. Ten cancer researchers take stock of the field, the advances that excite them, key outstanding questions and breakthroughs they anticipate looking forward.

    • René Bernards
    • Elizabeth Jaffee
    • Zemin Zhang

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Immunotherapy resistance is associated with poor T cell infiltration into tumors. Tumor-cell-intrinsic oncogenic events that contribute to this defect include Wnt–β-catenin activation. PAK4 is now identified as an upstream modulator of this pathway, thus suggesting the potential of enhancing the efficacy of immunotherapy by targeting this druggable kinase.

    • Thomas F. Gajewski
    • Jessica Fessler
  • News & Views |

    Identifying cancer driver mutations is essential to understand disease biology and devise effective therapies, but remains a complex endeavor. A focused analytical approach is now presented that defines driver mutations affecting ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis through machine learning and mining of cancer multi-omics data.

    • Han Liang
  • News & Views |

    Metastasis competence can be acquired early in tumorigenesis, although its underlying molecular intricacies remain unclear. A recent study provides key information about the function of L1CAM in conferring metastasis-initiation potential and chemoresistance in colorectal cancer by hijacking epithelial regenerative mechanisms.

    • Gloria Pascual
    • Salvador A. Benitah

Cancer in Translation

  • Cancer in Translation |

    KRAS mutations are among the most prevalent tumor drivers, but targeting them pharmacologically has been challenging. Recent landmark studies have demonstrated promising clinical results of KRASG12C inhibition by using small molecules. Bar-Sagi, and Knelson and Sequist provide their distinct perspectives on this recent tour de force in targeting KRASG12C alterations.

    • Dafna Bar-Sagi
    • Erik H. Knelson
    • Lecia V. Sequist



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