How to format your references using the Cancer Cell citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Cancer Cell. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Atlas, R.M. (2002). Public health. National security and the biological research community. Science 298, 753–754.
A journal article with 2 authors
Svenning, J.-C., and Condit, R. (2008). Ecology. Biodiversity in a warmer world. Science 322, 206–207.
A journal article with 3 authors
Inaba, M., Buszczak, M., and Yamashita, Y.M. (2015). Nanotubes mediate niche-stem-cell signalling in the Drosophila testis. Nature 523, 329–332.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Kerr, B., Riley, M.A., Feldman, M.W., and Bohannan, B.J.M. (2002). Local dispersal promotes biodiversity in a real-life game of rock-paper-scissors. Nature 418, 171–174.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Furmston, M. (2012). Powell-Smith and Furmston’s Building Contract Casebook (Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell).
An edited book
(2016). Recent Advances in Game Theory and Applications: European Meeting on Game Theory, Saint Petersburg, Russia, 2015, and Networking Games and Management, Petrozavodsk, Russia, 2015 (Cham: Springer International Publishing).
A chapter in an edited book
Lim, J.-H., Song, C.-W., Chung, K.-Y., Rim, K.-W., and Lee, J.-H. (2013). Forensic Evidence Collection Procedures of Smartphone in Crime Scene. In IT Convergence and Security 2012, K.J. Kim, and K.-Y. Chung, eds. (Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands), pp. 35–41.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for Cancer Cell.

Blog post
Andrew, E. (2014). 5 Great Space Explorers (Who Weren’t Human) (IFLScience).


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office (1997). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Time Is Running Out for Federal Agencies to Prepare for the New Millennium (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office).

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Motala, S. (2009). Siblings caring for elderly parents with dementia. Doctoral dissertation. California State University, Long Beach.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Lee, L. (2007). Coziness, With Good Lines. New York Times F3.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Atlas, 2002).
This sentence cites two references (Atlas, 2002; Svenning and Condit, 2008).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Svenning and Condit, 2008)
  • Three or more authors: (Kerr et al., 2002)

About the journal

Full journal titleCancer Cell
AbbreviationCancer Cell
ISSN (print)1535-6108
ISSN (online)1878-3686
ScopeCancer Research
Cell Biology

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