Aims & Scope

The ultimate aim of cancer research is to eliminate this common and devastating disease from the human population. To develop more effective prevention methods we need to understand what triggers tumorigenesis. To diagnose precancerous lesions and early-stage cancers quickly and accurately we need to detect the earliest molecular changes leading to each type of cancer. To determine a patient's prognosis we need to appreciate which molecular changes affect tumour growth rate and metastasis. And to tailor therapies to individual tumours we need to understand the fundamental differences, not only between a cancer cell and a 'normal' cell, but also between one cancer cell and another. All of these goals depend on a combination of basic and applied research. Nature Reviews Cancer aims to be a gateway from which cancer researchers — from those investigating the molecular basis of cancer to those involved in translational research — access the information that they need to further the ability to diagnose, treat and ultimately prevent cancer.

Subjects Covered:

  • Genomic instability: chromosomal and microsatellite instabilities, defects in DNA repair pathways.
  • Growth promoting signals: dysregulation of growth factor signalling pathways and cell cycle progression, proto-oncogenes and their activation.
  • Growth inhibitory signals: dysregulation of quiescence and differentiation, tumour suppressors and their inactivation.
  • Cancer stem cells.
  • Cell death: evading programmed cell death, including avoidance of immune surveillance systems.
  • Metabolism: pathways of nutrient acquisition and metabolism in tumour cells and cells of the tumour microenvironment, effects of systemic metabolism on cancer initiation and progression.
  • Tumour microenvironment:  immune and stromal cells, tumour vasculature, extracellular matrix components, cell–cell communication.
  • Tumour evolution and heterogeneity.
  • Metastasis:  tumour cell dissemination, dormancy and growth in new microenvironments.
  • Carcinogenesis and cancer prevention: epidemiology, genetic and environmental triggers, gene–environment interactions, strategies for reducing risk.
  • Cancer diagnosis and prognosis: molecular markers, diagnostic imaging, detecting minimal residual disease.
  • New approaches to cancer therapy: rational drug design, gene therapy, immunotherapy, combination therapies, combating drug resistance, targeting therapies to the individual.
  • Experimental systems and techniques: cell culture systems, animal and patient-derived models, genomic, epigenomic, proteomic and metabolomic approaches to studying cancer.
  • Cancer-associated disease: cancer pain, cachexia, symptoms associated with treatment, psychosocial aspects of cancer.
  • Ethical, legal and social issues surrounding cancer research: trial design, genetic screening, research policy, advocacy.
  • Conventional approaches to cancer diagnosis and treatment: how do they perform, what are their drawbacks and how might they be improved in the future?