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
Check, E. (2002). Alternative therapies leave US commission divided. Nature 416, 355.
A journal article with 2 authors
Westhof, E., and Massire, C. (2004). Structural biology. Evolution of RNA architecture. Science 306, 62–63.
A journal article with 3 authors
Monthoux, P., Pines, D., and Lonzarich, G.G. (2007). Superconductivity without phonons. Nature 450, 1177–1183.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Santos-Lleo, M., Schartel, N., Tananbaum, H., Tucker, W., and Weisskopf, M.C. (2009). The first decade of science with Chandra and XMM-Newton. Nature 462, 997–1004.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Packard, A. (2010). Digital Media Law (Wiley-Blackwell).
An edited book
Dontchev, A.L. (2009). Implicit Functions and Solution Mappings: A View from Variational Analysis R. T. Rockafellar, ed. (Springer).
A chapter in an edited book
De Cauwer, M., and O’Sullivan, B. (2013). A Study of Electricity Price Features on Distributed Internet Data Centers. In Economics of Grids, Clouds, Systems, and Services: 10th International Conference, GECON 2013, Zaragoza, Spain, September 18-20, 2013. Proceedings Lecture Notes in Computer Science., J. Altmann, K. Vanmechelen, and O. F. Rana, eds. (Springer International Publishing), pp. 60–73.

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
Hale, T. (2017). Great Lakes Funding Could Be Cut By 97 Percent Under New EPA Budget. 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 (1984). Observations on the FBI’s Interstate Identification Index (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
Medina, L.M. (2012). Living with Global Shocks: Examining the Responses of Firms and Governments.

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
Billard, M. (2010). Warhol, Target: It’s All Good. New York Times, E5.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in superscript:

This sentence cites one reference 2.
This sentence cites two references 2,4.
This sentence cites four references 2,4,6,8.

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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