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Metabolic pathway analysis using stable isotopes in patients with cancer

Caroline R. Bartman, Brandon Faubert, Joshua D. Rabinowitz & Ralph J. DeBerardinis


  • 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 by Elena B. Pasquale outlines the current understanding of Eph receptor–ephrin signalling mechanisms in cancer progression and therapy resistance, and also details therapeutic strategies for targeting the Eph system as a novel cancer therapy and for improving the efficacy of conventional cancer therapies.

      • Elena B. Pasquale
      Review Article
    • Deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) function in opposition to E3 ubiquitin ligases by removing ubiquitin from substrates to control protein and organelle homeostasis and responses to cellular stimuli. In this Review, Dewson et al. describe the many associations of DUBs with the hallmarks of cancer, with a view to identifying those DUBs most likely to impact cancer-associated phenotypes if targeted with selective inhibition.

      • Grant Dewson
      • Pieter J. A. Eichhorn
      • David Komander
      Review Article
    • Although tumour metabolism is well recognized as a key feature in cancer initiation and progression, little is known about metabolic reprogramming in patients. In this Review, Bartman et al. discuss stable-isotope tracing as a means to probe tumour metabolism in vivo and provide an overview of isotope labelling studies performed in patients with cancer.

      • Caroline R. Bartman
      • Brandon Faubert
      • Ralph J. DeBerardinis
      Review Article
    • In this Review, Swietach and colleagues discuss how the pH balance is dysregulated in tumours and how alterations in intracellular and extracellular pH affect tumour biology to accelerate disease progression, providing a rationale for therapeutic targeting of acid–base disturbances in cancer.

      • Pawel Swietach
      • Ebbe Boedtkjer
      • Stine Falsig Pedersen
      Review Article
    • Adrenocortical carcinoma is a rare endocrine cancer with a dismal survival rate and limited therapeutic options. This Review outlines the recent advances that have been made in the understanding of the molecular basis of adrenocortical carcinoma and what this means for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with this cancer type.

      • Chandrayee Ghosh
      • Jiangnan Hu
      • Electron Kebebew
      Review Article
  • Although childhood cancer survival rates have increased globally, there is a markedly inequitable distribution of these advances. Here, Monica Gramatges summarizes these challenges and provides the reader with strategies and solutions that begin to address factors that contribute to these inequities.

    • M. Monica Gramatges
  • In this Journal Club, Hajj discusses a study demonstrating that oncogene activation modulates immune control through both transcription and translation.

    • Glaucia N. M. Hajj
    Journal Club
  • Maas et al. identify an inflammatory, immunosuppressive phenotype in neutrophils that accumulates in brain malignancies, and show that this tumour-promoting neutrophil activation is driven by the brain tumour microenvironment.

    • Daniela Senft
    Research Highlight
  • Wang et al. show that antibiotic targeting of anaerobic intratumoral bacteria exposes a unique repertoire of microbial neoantigens that can successfully trigger cellular immunity against colorectal cancer in mice.

    • Linda Gummlich
    Research Highlight
  • In this Tools of the Trade article, Hongcheng Mai describes the development of wildDISCO, an approach for whole-body immunolabelling, optical clearing and imaging in mice.

    • Hongcheng Mai
    Tools of the Trade
  •  People from minority racial and ethnic groups continue to experience disproportionate cancer incidences and cancer-associated mortality rates. In this Comment, Byrd and Wolf explore the contribution of non-medical factors to the composition of the gut microbiome, and how this may be an actionable target for reducing these disparities.

    • Doratha Byrd
    • Patricia Wolf
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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