The big bang

Cancers make their own luck: theories of cancer origins

Amir Jassim, Eric P. Rahrmann, Ben D. Simons & Richard J. Gilbertson FREE TO ACCESS FOR A MONTH!


  • birthday balloons that look like cancer cells making the number 20

    October 2021 marked the 20th anniversary of Nature Reviews Cancer. This Collection includes cutting-edge articles, including our anniversary issue contents, and thought-provoking commentaries and viewpoints. We also delve into our archives as a reminder of where the journal started and all that has been achieved in cancer research since the journal’s launch.

  • two people representing an early-career researcher and their mentor

    Nature Reviews Cancer is committed to facilitating training in peer review and to ensuring that everyone involved in our peer-review process is recognised. We have therefore joined an initiative to allow and encourage established referees to involve one early-career researcher in our peer-review process.

  • "crab" symbol formed from individual cancer cells

    These Milestones celebrate two decades of breakthroughs in basic, translational and clinical research which have revolutionized our understanding and management of cancer.

  • Trees made out of cells

    THE TUMOUR LANDSCAPE: TRANSLATING MECHANISM TO THERAPY. Join Nature Reviews Cancer, alongside Nature and Nature Cancer in New York for our 3rd Nature Conference with MSKCC. This meeting will focus on how to translate recent technological, biological, translational and clinical advances of the tumour ecosystem to the clinic. October 29th, 2023 – November 1st, 2023. Register now!


    • This Review summarizes how the structural details that were revealed by cryo-electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography and insights into molecular basis of polyspecificity and mechanistic studies shaped the understanding of the role of ATP-binding cassette transporter in cancer multidrug resistance, culminating in new therapeutic approaches to sensitize multidrug-resistant cancer cells to conventional and targeted therapies.

      • Andaleeb Sajid
      • Hadiar Rahman
      • Suresh V. Ambudkar
      Review Article
    • Live-cell imaging can provide spatial, morphological and molecular understanding of cancer response to treatment. Here, Alieva et al. review its recent application for uncovering drug mode of action and tumour heterogeneity in response to treatment and discuss its application for next-generation precision medicine.

      • Maria Alieva
      • Amber K. L. Wezenaar
      • Anne C. Rios
      Review Article
    • Sex steroids are major promoters of the growth of breast and prostate cancers. This Review by Poutanen et al. describes the development of treatments for these cancer types that act to restrict sex steroid availability for receptor binding by inhibiting steroid biosynthesis, being a complementary mechanism of action to the more traditional sex steroid antagonists.

      • Matti Poutanen
      • Malin Hagberg Thulin
      • Pirkko Härkönen
      Review Article
    • This Review discusses the impact of steroid-receptor-mediated modifications of long-range chromatin interactions on transcriptional heterogeneity and the initiation, progression and therapy response of hormone-dependent cancers.

      • Theophilus T. Tettey
      • Lorenzo Rinaldi
      • Gordon L. Hager
      Review Article
    • Although selective antagonism of oestrogen receptor signalling in breast cancer has been one of the most successful therapeutic approaches in oncology, resistance is a major clinical challenge. In this Review, Will et al. explore mechanisms of oestrogen-receptor-α-targeted therapeutic resistance and strategies to overcome it.

      • Marie Will
      • Jackson Liang
      • Sarat Chandarlapaty
      Review Article
  • In this Tool of the Trade article, Nicolas Mathey-Andrews describes the generation and use of a prime editor mouse that enables in vivo modelling of the multitude of cancer alleles found in human tumours.

    • Nicolas Mathey-Andrews
    Tools of the Trade
  • In a recent study, Sanchez-Aguilera, Masmudi-Martín et al. find that a molecular program explains the cognitive impairment often seen in patients with brain metastasis, challenging the prevailing paradigm of the tumour mass being the sole cause of altered brain function.

    • Daniela Senft
    Research Highlight
  • In this Journal Club, Kinker & Medina discuss a study showing the role of tumour-associated tertiary lymphoid structures in improving immunotherapy response and overall survival in patients with melanoma.

    • Gabriela Sarti Kinker
    • Tiago da Silva Medina
    Journal Club
  • Karttunen et al. identify the contribution of transposable elements to gene regulatory function in colorectal and liver cancer cell lines.

    • Gabrielle Brewer
    Research Highlight
  • In a recent study, Tagore et al. find that the formation of synapse-like structures that serve to transfer GABA between premalignant melanocytes and keratinocytes promotes melanoma initiation by the BRAFV600E oncogene.

    • Daniela Senft
    Research Highlight
  • In this Tools of the Trade article, Dezhong Ji describes the development and use of a chimeric antigenic peptide influenza virus (CAP-Flu) system as a cancer vaccine strategy to promote tumour-infiltrating T cell activation in lung metastasis.

    • Dezhong Ji
    Tools of the Trade
A triangle showing a human body in one corner, foods in one corner and cancer cells in the third corner, all connected by arrows as a cycle

Diet and systemic metabolism

This series of articles explores how changes in diet and systemic metabolism can influence tumour development and progression, how this is affected by the presence of metabolic disease and how we can use this knowledge to improve anticancer therapy.


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