Reviews & Analysis

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  • In this Viewpoint article, we asked four scientists working in the field of cancer nanomedicine to provide their opinions on how we can truly fulfil the great promise of nanotechnologies for the detection, diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer.

    • Sangeeta N. Bhatia
    • Xiaoyuan Chen
    • Twan Lammers
  • This review gives an overview of natural killer (NK) cell-based immunotherapies. The authors describe the various engineering strategies used to increase NK cell cytotoxicity and persistence, as well as the current challenges and opportunities for the future design of next-generation NK cell therapies.

    • Tamara J. Laskowski
    • Alexander Biederstädt
    • Katayoun Rezvani
    Review Article
  • Environmental exposure to aristolochic acid-containing plant material and its use in traditional medicines have been linked to a wide range of cancers. In this Review, Das et al. describe the evidence for aristolochic acid as a potent carcinogen and explore the impact of public health measures on preventing aristolochic acid-linked cancers and nephropathy, with a call to action for the implementation of further preventative measures.

    • Samrat Das
    • Shefali Thakur
    • Jiri Zavadil
    Review Article
  • Structural variations (SVs), which comprise genome-level aneuploidies and rearrangements, result in both copy number changes and novel interactions between formerly distant genomic elements. This Perspective discusses how the folding of the 3D genome, and differences in its folding across cell types, affect the formation of SVs and their impact on cancer cell fitness in different cancer types.

    • Frank Dubois
    • Nikos Sidiropoulos
    • Rameen Beroukhim
  • This Review discusses molecular circuitry underlying adaptive plasticity in brain cancer stem cells, highlighting the transcriptional classification of the stem cell state, neoplastic evolution and development of therapeutic resilience, and critical brain-specific microenvironmental inputs with the goal of informing next-generation stem-targeted treatment paradigms.

    • Ryan C. Gimple
    • Kailin Yang
    • Jeremy N. Rich
    Review Article
  • Nonsense-mediated RNA decay (NMD) is a highly conserved RNA surveillance pathway that selectively degrades both normal and mutant mRNAs harbouring stop codons in specific contexts. In this Review, Tan et al. present recent evidence that NMD has a dichotomous role in tumour growth and progression that supports the future use of NMD-modulatory therapy to treat cancer.

    • Kun Tan
    • Dwayne G. Stupack
    • Miles F. Wilkinson
    Review Article
  • This Review discusses the metabolic alterations and vulnerabilities across multiple types of cancer, and describes how these could potentially be targeted using diet in conjunction with pharmacologic therapies.

    • Samuel R. Taylor
    • John N. Falcone
    • Marcus D. Goncalves
    Review Article
  • This Perspective discusses the role of multicellular tumour networks, formed by tumour microtubes and tunnelling nanotubes, in brain tumours. It also discusses their relevance to therapy resistance and how these networks might be therapeutically targeted, and their potential relevance in other cancer types.

    • Varun Venkataramani
    • Matthias Schneider
    • Frank Winkler
  • This Perspective discusses how polyamines, polyamine metabolism, the microbiota and the diet interconnect to establish a tumour microenvironment that facilitates the initiation and progression of cancer. It also details ways in which polyamine metabolism and function can be targeted for therapeutic benefit, including specifically enhancing the antitumour immune response.

    • Cassandra E. Holbert
    • Michael T. Cullen
    • Tracy Murray Stewart
  • This Review discusses our current understanding of tumour-infiltrating B lymphocytes (TIL-Bs) in human cancers, considering the role of TIL-Bs across the major facets of cancer immunity. The authors also discuss strategies to harness the cell-based and antibody-based effector mechanisms of TIL-Bs to enable a new generation of cancer immunotherapies.

    • Céline M. Laumont
    • Allyson C. Banville
    • Brad H. Nelson
    Review Article
  • This Review provides an overview of cancer-related actions of pattern recognition receptors, including both immune and non-immune functions that influence cancer mechanisms as well as the potential to target pattern recognition receptors for cancer drug development and biomarker discovery.

    • Si Ming Man
    • Brendan J. Jenkins
    Review Article
  • In recent years, research in the field of ferroptosis in cancer has risen steeply in part owing to its potential to be targeted. In this Review, Lei et al. provide an up-to-date synthesis of the roles and mechanisms of ferroptosis in tumour growth and progression, including its function in tumour immunity, highlighting it as a vulnerability that can be exploited for cancer therapy.

    • Guang Lei
    • Li Zhuang
    • Boyi Gan
    Review Article
  • Dysregulation of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) and CDK6, regulators of the cell cycle, favours the growth and survival of several cancer types. Owing to this, CDK4 and CDK6 inhibitors were developed and are currently approved for the treatment of advanced hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. This Review describes how we are only now beginning to fully understand their mechanisms of action and provides a new framework for conceptualizing their activity, which might enable expansion of the clinical opportunities of these agents.

    • Shom Goel
    • Johann S. Bergholz
    • Jean J. Zhao
    Review Article
  • This Review discusses mechanisms by which tumour ecosystems adapt to therapeutic stresses and how these could be exploited, as well as challenges associated with tumour heterogeneity. It provides an integrative framework to identify and target vulnerabilities that arise from adaptive responses to overcome cancer therapy resistance.

    • Marilyne Labrie
    • Joan S. Brugge
    • Ioannis K. Zervantonakis
    Review Article
  • This Review discusses how senescence can be induced in cancer cells and how distinctive features of senescent cancer cells might be exploited for their selective eradication as a potential cancer therapy.

    • Liqin Wang
    • Lina Lankhorst
    • René Bernards
    Review Article
  • This Review examines recent developments in proteogenomics, key findings from the proteogenomic analyses of a wide range of cancers and emerging applications of proteogenomics to translational studies and immuno-oncology, as well as discussing future prospects regarding integration into clinical trials and patient care.

    • D. R. Mani
    • Karsten Krug
    • Steven A. Carr
    Review Article
  • The advent of CRISPR technologies has enabled programmable nucleic acid editing in mammalian cells. In this Review, Katti et al. outline the enormous progress that has been made in the application of CRISPR tools to the study of cancer and also describe the potential use of CRISPR systems in clinical cancer management including diagnosis and treatment.

    • Alyna Katti
    • Bianca J. Diaz
    • Lukas E. Dow
    Review Article
  • Liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS) has been revealed as a widespread mechanism underlying the spatiotemporal coordination of biological activities in cells. This Perspective discusses how LLPS shapes the biochemical landscape of cancer cells, providing insight into emerging findings of dysregulated LLPS promoting cancer pathology.

    • Sohum Mehta
    • Jin Zhang
  • This Review discusses the mechanisms underlying the immune response to melanomas, as well as the mechanisms of response and resistance of these tumours to immunotherapies. The lessons learned in melanoma may apply to other tumour types.

    • Shelly Kalaora
    • Adi Nagler
    • Yardena Samuels
    Review Article