Long exposure photo of a road going through mountains at night

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.


    • In this Review, Mempel et al. use our understanding of the physiological response programmes of the immune system to the more commonplace challenges it encounters as a framework to interpret observations of chemokine function in tumours. When viewed in this way, the design of more effective therapeutic interventions leveraging the chemokine system to recalibrate response patterns to cancer might be possible.

      • Thorsten R. Mempel
      • Julia K. Lill
      • Lukas M. Altenburger
      Review Article
    • In this Viewpoint article, we asked six scientists working in the field of cancer dormancy to provide their opinions on the current state of the field and the challenges associated with translating dormancy research into the clinic.

      • Judith Agudo
      • Julio A. Aguirre-Ghiso
      • Christoph A. Klein
    • Numerous immunomodulatory antibodies for cancer treatment have been developed following the discovery of negative regulators of antitumour immunity such as programmed cell death protein 1 (PD1) and cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA4). The efficacy of these antibodies is determined not only by their ability to block or engage their target but also by their interactions with Fcγ receptors (FcγRs). This Review outlines our current knowledge of these interactions and discusses how we can use this knowledge to generate more effective cancer immunotherapies in the future.

      • Felipe Galvez-Cancino
      • Alexander P. Simpson
      • Sergio A. Quezada
      Review Article
    • Targeting platelets represents a promising approach to improve the therapeutic efficacy of chemotherapy and cancer immunotherapy. Here, Li and colleagues highlight the dynamic role of platelets in tumour development, progression, and response to therapy, and underscore the utility of tumour-educated platelets for precise tumour diagnosis and treatment.

      • Suping Li
      • Zefang Lu
      • Guangjun Nie
      Review Article
    • 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
  • In this study, Bansaccal et al. analyse why, at some skin locations, oncogene-expressing cells rarely progress to cancer and found that a dense dermal collagen network prevents skin cancer formation.

    • Daniela Senft
    Research Highlight
  • In this Comment, Berna Özdemir summarizes the evidence for greater drug toxicity in female patients and emphasizes the need for increased awareness of sex differences at all stages of drug development to establish sex-specific anticancer treatment strategies.

    • Berna C. Özdemir
  • In this Tools of the Trade article, Xiwen Tang describes the development of in vivo reporters detecting mutant p53 at the protein level, which enables the visualization of precancerous cells during cancer initiation.

    • Xiwen Tang
    Tools of the Trade
  • Enzymes that produce metabolites specifically required by cancer cells have become attractive targets for therapy. Recently, Doshi et al. highlighted the potential of targeting the detoxifying enzyme UXS1 in cancer.

    • Gabrielle Brewer
    Research Highlight
  • 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
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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