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EJC News Focus – February 2013

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The Hallmarks of Cancer – 12 years on

What does it take to write a paper that will be cited more than 12,000 times? In the case of Douglas Hanahan and Robert Weinberg, it was a day spent discussing the features common to all cancer cells. While the field of cancer cell biology was becoming dauntingly complex, they came up with a straightforward framework for understanding the cancer cell: it had, they said, six underlying essential features. The paper that brought these ideas together, The Hallmarks of Cancer, went on to become a publishing sensation.

More than 10 years on, they updated the paper and introduced another two potential hallmarks, but their basic idea has stood the test of time. Doug Hanahan (Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, Lausanne, Switzerland) gave the keynote lecture at ESMO 2012; Helen Saul caught up with him there.