Important Note

Ownership of the journal Cancer Detection and Prevention was transferred to Elsevier Ltd. in September 2008. This page remains available for historical purposes. The content on this page is likely to be out of date and may no longer be accurate.

Important Note

Ownership of the journal Cancer Detection and Prevention was transferred to Elsevier Ltd. in September 2008. This page remains available for historical purposes. The content on this page is likely to be out of date and may no longer be accurate.


Manuscript Preparation Guidelines

Manuscript categories

  • Original articles: text limited to 6000 words including all elements (25 double-spaced pages) - reporting results of original research.

  • Review articles: text limited to 8000 words including all elements (35 double-spaced pages) - providing timely, in-depth treatment of an issue.

  • Letters to the Editor: text limited to 500 or fewer words (reference list, footnotes, figure legend or table are excluded from the word count). Correspondence related to work published in the journal will be referred to the author(s) for comment and the response will be published along with the letter. Where the letter concerns an item appearing in the journal, cite the item in the numbered references.

  • Short Communications: text limited to 1000 words (reference list, footnotes, figure legend or table are excluded from the word count).

Manuscript style

Manuscripts must be prepared according to the guidelines adopted by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Please consult the latest version of Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.[note 1]

Review articles - guidelines: See Methodologic Guidelines for Review Papers.[note 2] Also refer to the 2004 study by T.B. Patrick and coworkers[note 3] about the effectiveness of retrieval strategies for meta-analysis reviews and the validity of "evidence-based retrieval in evidence-based medicine" (available online from PubMed Central).

References: Citation of the literature follows the "Vancouver Style"[note 4]. Abbreviate the titles of periodical names according to Index Medicus.[note 5]

Statistical analysis: Statistical methods should be defined in the Methods section of the paper, and any not in common use should be either described in detail or supported by references. Refer to the editorial by Brown and Machin[note 6] summarizing the key issues in the reporting of statistical results in clinical oncology.

Nomenclature: In matters of spelling, capitalization, punctuation, hyphenation and general style, adhere to the standards of the American Medical Association Manual of Style.[note 7] Abide by the UICC TNM Classification of Malignant Tumors[note 8] when citing the stage of a cancer. For the classification of tumors, adhere to the standards of the World Health Organization International Histological Classification of Tumors.[note 9] Please utilize the USP Dictionary of USAN and International Drug Names[note 10] when naming drugs; state chemical nomenclature in accordance with Naming and Indexing of Chemical Substances for Chemical Abstracts[note 11]; employ SNOMED International[note 12] terminology for diseases, operations and procedures. All Human Gene Mapping designations for human genes should be capitalized and the appropriate gene symbol listed in the most recent Human Gene Mapping report.

Units of measurements: Report physical and chemical quantities according to standard metric usage. Use Système International (SI) base units and supplementary units (see: CBE style manual[note 13]), but do not use the SI exponential unit prefixes. Use the symbol. If exponentials are unavoidable in column headings, the quantity expressed should be preceded, not followed, by the power of 10 by which its value has been multiplied, for example, 10-3 concentration (M).

A selected list of SI base units of measure and symbols.
Symbol Unit Name
literis not abbreviated
Mmolar (moles/liter)
µm (not µ)micrometer (not micron)
mMmillimolar (millimoles/liter)
nm (not mµ)nanometer (not millimicron)
pm (not µµ)picometer (not micromicron)

Abbreviations: Avoid abbreviations in the title. The full term for which an abbreviation stands should precede its first use in the text unless it is a standard unit of measurement or is listed in the document Abbreviations that may be used without definition in Cancer Detection and Prevention.

Manuscript components

Title Page

The title page should contain the following headings:

  1. title of the article: the title should be concise but informative; abbreviations should not be used in the title

  2. short title: a briefer version of the title (no more than 40 characters) that will serve as a running head in the printed version

  3. category: the type of article should be specified - original article, review article, short communication, Letter to the Editor, Tribute - final categorization in the Table of Contents is at the discretion of the Editor

  4. condensed abstract: a two-sentence abstract, suitable for the Table of Contents, should succinctly summarize significant conclusion(s) or message that the article brings to the reader

  5. authorship: the first name, middle initial, and last name of each author must include the author's highest academic degree(s); the number of authors should not exceed 10

  6. affiliation: the name of department(s) and institutions with which each author is affiliated (the initials of each author should be shown parenthetically following the affiliation)

  7. corresponding author: the name, complete mailing address, telephone, fax and e-mail for correspondence with the author responsible for communication and reprints

  8. sources of support: support in the form of grants, equipment, drugs or all of these that require acknowledgment

  9. total number counts of each: (1) authors; (2) text file(s) (3) table file(s); (4) figures and illustrations (files and originals); and (5) permissions accompanying the cover letter

Abstract and key words

Prepare a condensed abstract (two-sentences in length) for the title page. On the following page, prepare the abstract text (250 words in length) with subheadings: Background, Methods, Results, Conclusion(s). State the purposes of the study or investigation, basic procedures (study subjects or experimental animals and observational and analytic methods), main findings (give specific data and their statistical significance, if possible), principal conclusions and interpretations. Emphasize new and important aspects of the work, future directions for confirmatory study and/or applications. Use only approved abbreviations; if others are absolutely necessary, create them at the point of first use. Do not include references.

Below the abstract, provide and identify as "Author's key words" 10 terms (or phrases) not in the title that will assist indexers in cross-indexing your article. Use terms from the current medical subject headings list from The National Library of Medicine. The key words will be published with the abstract.

The author is hereby made aware of the following procedures:

  1. Elsevier may choose to publish the abstract (in press) before it is published in the journal. Please contact the Elsevier Production Department if you do not want to make any such prior publication for any reason including disclosure of patentable invention.

  2. Abstracts are often copied directly by secondary services. The author's keywords may not be copied and indexed. Keywords used to describe and interpret the study should also appear in the abstract text.


The text of observational and experimental articles is usually divided into sections with the headings: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion. Long articles may need subheadings within some sections to clarify their content, especially the Results and Discussion. Other types of articles such as case reports, reviews, and editorials may need other formats, and authors should consult the journal's website for further guidance. Avoid the use of footnotes as much as possible. If they must be used, number them consecutively with Arabic numerals.


Clearly state the purpose of the article. Summarize the rationale for the study or observation. Give only strictly pertinent references, and do not review the literature extensively.

Materials and methods

The Methods sections of articles are exempted from the word count. Methodology and procedures should be included that correspond to each of the end points presented in the Results. Mention limiting experimental conditions, specific outcomes assessment and methods of assessment. Where appropriate, clinical and epidemiologic studies should be analyzed to see if there is an effect of sex on any of the major ethnic groups. If there is no effect, it should be so stated in the Results.

  • Describe the methods in sufficient detail to allow qualified workers to reproduce the results.

  • Identify the methods, apparatus (manufacturer's name and city in parentheses), full names as well as standard abbreviations of labeled compounds and isotopes used for labeling.

  • Give references to established methods, including statistical methods; provide references and brief descriptions of methods that have been published but are not well known: thoroughly explain new or substantially modified methods, give reasons for using them and evaluate their limitations.

  • Include numbers of observations and the statistical significance of the findings when appropriate; tests of statistical significance should be two sided, and outcome variables should generally be given as point estimates, with 95% confidence intervals rather than standard deviations or standard errors.

  • Methods of statistical analysis should be located in a subsection detailing the statistical techniques employed, mathematical derivations and the like. In some instances this information may be suitably presented in the form of one or more appendixes, which should follow the reference section.

  • Consent and approval: Describe clearly your selection of the subjects (observational patients or experimental animals, including controls):

    • When reporting experiments on human subjects, an explicit declaration must be made that:

      1. the investigations were performed after approval by a local institutional review board and in accord with an assurance filed with and approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or where appropriate, the ethical standards of the committee on human experimentation of the institution in which the experiments were done;

      2. written informed consent was obtained from each subject or from his or her guardian. Do not use patient's names, initials, or hospital numbers.

    • When reporting experiments on animals, indicate whether the institution's guidelines or the National Research Council's Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals was followed. Identify precisely all drugs and chemicals used, including generic name(s), dosage(s), and route(s) of administration.


Present your results in logical sequence in the text, tables and illustrations. Emphasize or summarize only the key observations; do not repeat in the text all the data in the tables or illustrations, or both.


Emphasize the new and important aspects of the study and conclusions that follow from them. Do not repeat in detail data given in the Results section. Include in the Discussion the implications of the findings and their limitations and relate the observations to other relevant studies. Link the conclusions with the goals of the study, but avoid unqualified statements and conclusions not completely supported by your data. Avoid claiming priority and alluding to work that has not beencompleted. State new hypotheses when warranted but clearly label them as such. Recommendations, when appropriate, may be included.


Acknowledge only persons who have made substantive contributions to the study. Authors are responsible for obtaining written permission from everyone acknowledged by name because readers may infer their endorsement of the data and conclusions. Give credit for any grant support provided.


Authors are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of their references and for the correct text citations.

Number references consecutively in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text. Identify references in text, tables, and legends by Arabic numerals in square brackets. References cited only in tables or in legends to figures should be numbered in accordance with a sequence established by the first identification in the text of the particular table or illustration.

Try to avoid using abstracts as references: "unpublished observations" and "personal communications" may not be used as references, although references to written, not verbal, communications may be inserted (in parentheses) in the text. Include among the references manuscripts accepted but not yet published: designate the journal, followed by "in press" (in parentheses). Information from manuscripts submitted but not accepted should be cited in the text as "unpublished observations" (in parentheses).

References to electronic sources: Include the type of medium (such as "computer program" or "monograph on CD-ROM"), the version used and the supplier. References to online sources should include the type of medium (such as "serial online" or "monograph online"), the date of that specific reference (if applicable), the uniform resource locator (URL), and the date that the source was accessed. A source accessed online should always be referenced accordingly, even if it is also published in printed form.

Digital object identifier (DOI): The DOI appears on the title page of a journal article. It is assigned after the article has been accepted for publication and persists throughout the lifetime of the article. Due to its persistence, it can be used to find the article on the Internet through various Web sites and to cite the article in academic references. It is important to include the article's DOI in the citation as volume and page information is not always available for articles published online. Further information may be found at the Digital Object Identifier System website. (Examples of DOI references are shown in the following section entitled References to electronic sources.)

Examples of correct forms of references:


  • Standard journal article

    (List first six (6) authors, followed by et al.)

    Napalkov NP. Prenatal and childhood exposure to carcinogenic factors. Cancer Detect Prev 1986;9:1-7.

  • Corporate author

    The Committee on Enzymes of the Scandinavian Society for Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Physiology. Recommended method for the determination of gammaglutamyltransferase in blood. Scand J Clin Lab Invest 1976;36:119-125.

    Anonymous. Epidemiology for primary health care. Int J Epidemiol 1976;5:224-225.

Books and other monographs

  • Personal author(s)

    Mitelman F. Catalog of chromosome aberrations in cancer. New York: Alan R. Liss, Inc.; 1985.

  • Corporate author

    American Medical Association Department of Drugs. AMA drug eval-uations. 3rd ed. Littleton, Colorado: Publishing Sciences Group; 1977.

  • Editor, compiler, chairman as author

    Rhodes AJ, Van Rooyen CE, comps. Textbook of virology: for students and practitioners of medicine and the other health sciences. 5th ed. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1968.

  • Chapter in book

    Krummel TM. Wilms' tumor - surgical aspects. In: Broecker H, Klein FA, eds. Pediatric tumors of the genitourinary tract. New York: Alan R. Liss, Inc.; 1988. p. 75-86.

  • Agency publications

    National Center for Health Statistics. Acute conditions: incidence and associated disability. United States July 1968-June 1969. Rockville. MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 1971-. (Vital and Health Statistics. Series 10: Data from the National Health Survey, No 69) (DHEW publication No (HSM)721036.)

  • References to electronic sources

    Nakamura S, Yao T, Aoyagi K, Ikda M, Fujishima M, Tsuneyoshi M. Helicobacter pylori and primary gastric lymphoma: a histopathologic and immunochemical analysis of 237 patients. Cancer [serial online] 1997;79:3-11. Available from: Accessed December 1, 1998.

    Nanduri B, Zimniak P. Indications for haematology. Eur Heart J 1999;362:167-174, doi:10.1053/euhj.1998.1009.

    Prasad RK, Ismail-Beigi F. Indications for haematology. Eur Heart J doi:10.1053/euhj.1998.1026.


Prepare each table on a separate page: remember to double space. Do not submit tables as photographs. Number tables consecutively with Roman numerals and supply a brief descriptive title for each. Give each column a short or abbreviated heading.

  • Place explanatory matter in footnotes, not in the title.

  • Explain, in footnotes, all nonstandard abbreviations that are used in each table. For footnotes, use superscript numbers with textual entries; superscript letters with numerical data; * for P values

  • Use rules beneath title, beneath column heads, above footnotes (or at end of table if there are no footnotes). Do not use vertical rules or totaling rules.

  • Identify statistical measures of variations such as SD and SEM. Cite each table in the text in consecutive order.

If you use data from another published or unpublished source, obtain permission and acknowledge fully. The editor, on accepting a manuscript, may recommend that additional tables containing import ant back-up data too extensive to be published may be deposited with the National Auxiliary Publications Service or made available by the author(s). In that event, an appropriate statement will be added to the text. Submit such tables for consideration with the manuscript.


The Elsevier Author Gateway Author's Gateway shows how to prepare your artwork for electronic submission and includes: common problems, suggestions on how to ensure the best results, and guidelines for popular software applications and details about using specific artwork software for the Windows and Macintosh platforms.

Authors may have their figures appear in black & white in print and appear in color, online, at ScienceDirect. The Elsevier initiative, 'Colorful e-Products' is provided at no extra charge for authors who participate. Please indicate your preference for color in print or on the Web only. For color reproduction in print, you will receive information regarding the costs from Elsevier after receipt of your accepted article. Should you not opt for color in print, please submit in addition usable black and white versions of all the color illustrations.

Figures should be professionally drawn and photographed: freehand or typewritten lettering is unacceptable. Instead of original drawings, roentgenograms, and other material, send sharp, glossy black-and-white photographic prints, usually 12.5 x 17.5 cm (5 x 7 in) but not larger than 20.0 x 15.0 cm (8 x 10 in). Letters, numbers and symbols should be clear and even throughout, and of sufficient size that when reduced for publication each item will be legible. Titles and detailed explanations belong in the legends for illustrations, not the illustrations themselves.

If glossy figures are submitted three complete sets of figures should be included.Each figure should have a label pasted on its back indicating the number of the figure, the names of the authors, and the top of the figure. Do not write on the back of the figures or mount them on cardboard or scratch or mar them using paper clips. Do not bend figures. Photomicrographs must have internal scale markers. Symbols, arrows, or letters used in the photomicrographs should contrast with the background. If photographs of persons are used, either the subjects must not be identifiable or their pictures must be accompanied by written permission to use the photograph.

Permission: If a figure has been published, acknowledge the original source and submit written permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the material. Permission is required, regardless of authorship or publisher, except for documents in the public domain.

Legends for illustrations: Type legends for illustrations double-spaced, starting on a separate page, with Arabic numerals corresponding to the illustrations. When symbols, arrows, numbers, or letters are used to identify parts of the illustrations, explain and identify each one clearly in the legend. Explain internal scale and identify method of staining in photomicrographs.

References to sources cited

  1. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. Ann Intern Med 1997;126:36-47. Updated October 2004. Available from: Accessed January 5, 2005.

  2. Weed DL. Methodologic guidelines for review papers. (editorial) J Natl Cancer Inst 1997 Jan;89(1):6-7. Available from: Accessed January 5, 2005.

  3. Patrick TB, Demiris G, Folk LC, Moxley DE, Mitchell JA, Tao D. Evidence-based retrieval in evidence-based medicine. J Med Libr Assoc 2004 Apr;92(2):196-9. Available from: Accessed January 5, 2005.

  4. Vancouver Style: Quick Guide - How To Use It. Available from: Accessed January 5, 2005.

  5. National Library of Medicine. List of journals indexed in Index Medicus. Washington DC: US Governmental Printing Office [monthly].

  6. Brown J, Machin D. Statistics and clinical oncology. (editorial) Clin Oncol 2000;12:202-5.

  7. American Medical Association Manual of Style: A guide for authors and editors. 9th ed. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1998.

  8. Sobin LH, Wittekind C, eds. UICC TNM classification of malignant tumors. 5th ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 1997.

  9. World Health Organization. International histological classification of tumors. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1969-1981; 2nd ed. Berlin: Springer-Verlag; 1988-Present.

  10. USP Dictionary of USAN and International Drug Names, 2005. Rockville MD: United States Pharmacopeial Convention; March 2005.

  11. Chemical Abstracts Services. Naming and indexing of chemical substances for chemical abstracts. Appendix IV. Columbus OH: American Chemical Society; 1997.

  12. Cote RA, Rothwell DJ, Beckett RS, Palotay JL, eds. SNOMED international: the systematized nomenclature of human and veterinary medicine. 4 vols. Northfield IL: College of American Pathologists; 1993.

  13. Council of Biology Editors, Style Manual Committee. CBE style manual: a guide for authors, editors, and publishers in the biological sciences, 6th ed, revised and expanded. Rockville MD: Council of Biology Editors, Inc.; 1994.