Open Access
Editorial
Issue
Vis Cancer Med
Volume 5, 2024
Article Number E1
Number of page(s) 3
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/vcm/2024003
Published online 10 April 2024

© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2024

Licence Creative CommonsThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

With the dramatic development of medical sciences and technologies for cancer prevention, detection, and treatment, the incidence rates of several malignancies have declined and the cure rate for some cancers has significantly increased in certain areas of the world. However, cancer-related death is still a major cause of mortality worldwide, killing nearly 10 million patients in 2020 [1], suggesting the limitations of our understanding on carcinogenesis, cancer biology, as well as medical interventional options.

Hoping to promote basic research and clinical investigations, we launched an interesting activity in 2016 by inviting authors worldwide to present the most important questions in cancer research and clinical oncology [2]. The initial plan was to publish 150 key questions to tribute to Dr. Sun Yat-sen for his 150th year anniversary of birth, who was a physician and a pioneer in the modernization of China. By 2018, 101 most important questions have been peer-reviewed and published [315]. These key questions have triggered significant interest in the research fields of cancer etiology [1619], epidemiology [20, 21], metabolism [22, 23], apoptosis [24], senescence [25], angiogenesis [26, 27], cachexia [28, 29], immunology [3032], treatment resistance [30, 33], and novel therapeutic modality [3437]. In Figure 1, we present the distribution of the questions categorized into broad topics, some predominantly clinical and others more biological. Interestingly, while the number of biological topics is higher, it is the clinical topics that contain more questions. Specifically, the groups with the most questions pertain to issues related to chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or immunotherapy.

thumbnail Figure 1

A horizontal bar chart of the previously published 101 most important questions in cancer research and clinical oncology summarized by category. The number of questions for each category is presented. Notably, a balance between clinical and biological topics can be appreciated. With metastasis remaining the most challenging issue in cancer treatment and prevention, more key questions in this area are expected in future publications.

The rapid accumulation of multidisciplinary data and knowledge has significantly advanced our understanding of cancer biology and therapeutic approaches. Therefore, the key questions published 6–8 years ago may require revisiting and potentially revising. For instance, our limited number of questions on the tumor microenvironment (TME) (only four) underscores the need for further exploration of this critical area. The TME’s profound impact on cancer progression and treatment responses necessitates a more comprehensive understanding. Additionally, a paucity of questions regarding single-cell sequencing and multi-omics data analysis suggests an opportunity for deeper investigation in these promising avenues. Formulating novel and thought-provoking questions on these topics holds immense potential to enrich our understanding of cancer.

Building upon the valuable platform of Visualized Cancer Medicine (VCM), we are excited to invite authors to revisit and refine their previously published key questions. We also warmly welcome the submission of novel key questions for peer review and potential publication in VCM. By revisiting and refining existing key questions, while also introducing novel ones, this initiative aims to reframe and revitalize cancer research, ultimately accelerating progress in the fight against this complex disease.

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Cite this article as: Qian C-N, Pezzella F, Lu Z. Revisiting and proposing the most important questions in cancer research and clinical oncology. Visualized Cancer Medicine. 2024; 5, E1.

All Figures

thumbnail Figure 1

A horizontal bar chart of the previously published 101 most important questions in cancer research and clinical oncology summarized by category. The number of questions for each category is presented. Notably, a balance between clinical and biological topics can be appreciated. With metastasis remaining the most challenging issue in cancer treatment and prevention, more key questions in this area are expected in future publications.

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