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Article Style and Formats

Article Style and Formats

This section provides detailed general style and formatting requirements for manuscripts published in the AACR journals. For initial submission, the AACR journals do not impose strict article size or formatting requirements. Rather, authors are encouraged to format their manuscript in a manner that makes it easy for peer reviewers to read and assess. Text must be clean with all manuscript sections and items present and legible, the author list must be complete and accurate, and a conflict-of-interest statement present. For initial submission only, authors are encouraged to present each figure and its legend together in sequence to facilitate peer review.

Authors of revised manuscripts must observe all instructions below and in the individual journal instruction pages. See the links below for each journal's specific instructions for the categories of articles, article size recommendations, and any exceptions or additions to the general article style and formatting instructions that follow.

Manuscripts should be written in clear, grammatical English with all pages and/or lines numbered. For the convenience of authors whose native language is not English, we have provided a list of editing and proofreading services for scientific manuscripts in our Author Services Center. Laboratory jargon as well as terminology and abbreviations not consistent with internationally accepted guidelines should be avoided. Numbered and lettered sections in the text should be avoided. Each table and figure must be cited in sequential order in the text. Simple chemical formulas or mathematical equations should be presented in a form that allows their reproduction in single horizontal lines of type.

Manuscripts should be arranged in the following order: title page, text and references, tables, figure legends, and figures (appropriately numbered), but note the exception described above regarding initial submission of figures and legends. See below for a full explanation of what is to be included in these sections.

When submitting manuscripts that include supplementary data, please be sure to upload supplementary files separately, in the appropriate area of the submission form (see also the detailed policies on preparation of Supplementary Data). Please do not append supplementary files to the main manuscript file.


Main Text

Title Page

Title. Write a brief, informative title. Abbreviations should not be used in titles. It is important for literature retrieval to include in the title the key words that identify the nature of the subject matter, including, if applicable, the species on which the work is done.

Authors and affiliations. Authors are urged to include their full names, complete with first and middle names or initials. Academic degrees should not be included. The names and locations of institution or company affiliations at the time the work was completed should be given for all authors. Departments, units, or laboratories should also be specified. If several institutions are listed on a manuscript, it should be clearly indicated with which department and institution each author is affiliated by using corresponding superscript numbers.

Running title. A brief running title of no more than 60 characters should be provided. Choose the running title carefully, as it will be used in electronic alerting services and some mobile device applications. Abbreviations may be used in the running title.

Additional information. Include the following notes on the title page (if applicable) in this order:

  • Full name, mailing address, and email address of the corresponding author
  • A conflict of interest disclosure statement; additional information is available at this link: Conflict of Interest Policy
  • Other notes about the manuscript as a whole, including the word count, and the total number of figures and tables Please note that, authors who substantially exceed the word limit given for the type of article (see specific instructions for each journal) may have their manuscript returned.
    For Clinical Cancer Research only, a 150-word statement of translational relevance describing how the results might be applied to the future practice of cancer medicine, should be provided on a page between the title page and abstract.


The abstract must be concise, yet should accurately outline the content of the manuscript (see the links at the top of this page for abstract length requirements for each type of article). Because these abstracts are used by secondary services (e.g., MEDLINE, Chemical Abstracts, Web of Science, Scopus), they should recapitulate in abbreviated form the purpose of the study and the experimental technique, results, and data interpretations. Data such as the number of test subjects and controls, strains of animals or viruses, drug dosages and routes of administration, tumor yields and latent periods, length of observation period, and magnitude of activity should be included. Vague, general statements such as "The significance of the results is discussed" or "Some physical properties were studied" should be avoided. Important terms relevant to the content of the manuscript should be incorporated into the abstract to assist indexers and searchers. Abbreviations should be kept to an absolute minimum; however, if they are needed, they must be explained at first mention within the abstract so that it can be understood as an independent unit from the remainder of the manuscript. Do not cite references in the abstract.


The introduction should provide a brief overview of the background and rationale for the study. It is not necessary to cite all of the background literature in the introduction. Brief reference to the most pertinent articles generally suffices to acquaint the reader with the findings of others in the field and with the problem or question that the investigation addresses.

Materials and Methods

Explanation of the experimental methods should be adequate for repetition by qualified investigators. Authors are encouraged to publish the step-by-step protocol(s) used in their study at and then include the unique digital object identifier(s) (DOI) in the Materials and Methods. Please see Improving Reproducibility for more information.

Procedures that have been fully described in detail in a previous publication need not be described in detail but rather cited with appropriate references and details of any modifications to the procedure. New procedures and substantially modified previously published procedures must be described in detail.

If any experiments or analyses were outsourced to an institutional core facility or external service provider, this must be stated in the Materials and Methods along with the name of the provider. If possible, the methodological details of the work conducted by the provider should be included in the manuscript, or a suitable reference cited.

The sources of all reagents and tools used should be provided. Any commercial product that is mentioned should include the name of the manufacturer and catalog number. Authors are strongly encouraged to include a unique searchable Research Resource Identifier (RRID), as assigned by the Resource Identification Initiative, for each relevant reagent, tool, and core facility used. Please see Improving Reproducibility for more information. If statistical analysis was performed as part of the study, please include a Statistical Analysis subsection. A Data Availability Statement must be present at the end of the Materials and Methods in a "Data Availability" subsection.


Include a concise summary of the data presented in all display items (figures and tables). Excessive elaboration of data shown in display items should be avoided.


The data should be interpreted concisely without repeating material already presented in the Results section. Speculation is permissible, but it must be well founded, and discussion of the wider implications of the findings is encouraged.


Include funding information and the names of others contributing to the work who are not identified as authors. This should include any people, services, or generative artificial intelligence technologies that contributed to the generation of the manuscript.


Number the references in the order of their first mention in the text; cite only the number assigned to the reference. The reference list should be limited to only those citations essential to the presentation. Before submission of the manuscript, authors should verify the accuracy of all references and check that all references have been cited in the text. For manuscripts with more than 6 authors, the names of the first 6 authors must be listed, followed by "et al." For manuscripts with 6 or fewer authors, all authors should be listed. Please note that although example references are shown below, a manuscript’s references need not be formatted according to journal style prior to submission.

Reference examples:

Journal article
Warrell RP Jr, Frankel SR, Miller WH Jr, Scheinberg DA, Itri LM, Hittelman WN, et al.
Differentiation therapy of acute promyelocytic 584 leukemia with tretinoin (all-trans-retinoic acid). N Engl J Med 1991;324:1385–93.

Book chapter
Yuspa SH, Hennings H, Roop D, Strickland J, Greenhalgh DA. Genes and mechanisms involved in malignant conversion. In: Harris CC, Liotta LA, editors. Genetic mechanisms in carcinogenesis and tumor progression. New York: Wiley-Liss; 1990. p.115–26.

Article in press
Articles in press at a peer-reviewed journal may be listed among the references. The author must provide a DOI to the editor to verify that the article is in press at the indicated peer-reviewed journal.

Online tools, databases, and other functional resources should be cited by including the RRID next to the tool or resource name in the main text of the manuscript. Materials published online, but not in a citable journal, should use the format:
AMA Office of Group Practice Liaison. [cited 2010 Aug 15]. Available from:

A preprint version of an article published in bioRxiv or other preprint repository should be cited in the body of the manuscript where a reference number would appear for a conventional reference. Please use the following format: (bioRxiv 2022.06.24.497515). To avoid confusion between peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed papers, do not place preprint references in the reference list.

Step-by-step protocols, such as those published at or on protocolexchange, should be cited in the body of the manuscript using a DOI link (e.g., where a reference number would appear for a conventional reference. Protocols published as a peer-reviewed article in a protocol journal should be cited as a normal journal article.

Unpublished data and information
Unpublished data or other information from a non-author should be cited as "unpublished observation(s)" or "personal communication" in the main text. Written permission from the source should be submitted with the manuscript.



Data Availability Statement

All original research must contain a Data Availability Statement describing how readers may obtain the data acquired and/or used in the study. If there are any limitations on availability, these must be explained. Please see Data for details of the AACR journals’ data availability requirements.

Below are example statements for various scenarios. If different datasets used in the study have different data availability terms, please combine appropriate statements, and specify the datasets for which the different terms of availability apply. The Data Availability Statement should be placed at the end of the Materials and Methods (or Methods) section in its own subsection titled "Data Availability."

Data were generated by the authors and deposited in a repository

The data generated in this study are publicly available in [repository name(s)] at [list one or more hyperlinked codes].

The data generated in this study are publicly available in Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) at GSE158739 and GSE158812.

The data generated in this study are publicly available in Genbank at MT006230 and in Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) at GSE144569.

Data were generated by the authors and available on request (permitted only for data types for which a community-recognized, structured repository does not exist)

The data generated in this study are available upon request from the corresponding author.

Data were generated by the authors and included in the article

The data generated in this study are available within the article and its supplementary data files.

Note: This statement is only appropriate if the raw data is available in the article or supplementary data files. Plots of data (even individual data points), images displayed in figures, or summary tabular data do not qualify as data included in the article. In these cases, the authors should instead state whether the raw data is available in a suitable repository or on request from the corresponding author.

Raw data were generated in a core facility (and may be unavailable) but processed data are available from the authors

Raw data for this study were generated at [facility name]. Derived data supporting the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.

Data were generated by the authors but are not publicly available for declared legitimate reason(s)

The data generated in this study are not publicly available due to [describe reasons for restriction such as information that could compromise patient privacy or consent] but are available upon reasonable request from the corresponding author.

Publicly available data generated by others were used by the authors

The data analyzed in this study were obtained from [repository name(s)] at [list one or more hyperlinked codes or urls].

The data that support the findings of this study are available in [repository name(s)] at [list one or more hyperlinked codes]. These data were derived from the following public domain resources: [list resources and hyperlinked codes]

The data analyzed in this study were obtained from Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) at GSE22396, GSE124857, and GSE124731.

The data analyzed in this study were obtained from figshare at

Data generated by others were used under license by the authors

The data analyzed in this study are available from [third party name]. Restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for this study. Data are available from the authors upon reasonable request with the permission of [third party name].

No data was generated or analyzed in the reported study

Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no data were created or analyzed in this study.

Examples of Combined Data Availability Statements

The data generated in this study are available within the article and its supplementary data files. Expression profile data analyzed in this study were obtained from Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) at GSE22396, GSE124857, and GSE124731.

The sequence data generated in this study are publicly available in Genbank at MT006230, in Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) at GSE144569, and within the article and its supplementary data files. The data from the Broad Institute’s Cancer Dependency Map project that were analyzed in this study were obtained from figshare at

The human sequence data generated in this study are not publicly available due to patient privacy requirements but are available upon reasonable request from the corresponding author. Other data generated in this study are available within the article and its supplementary data files.


Display Items


A summary of the data should be provided in the text with a callout to the table. Tabular data should not duplicate data already presented in detail in the text. Unnecessary columns of data that can easily be derived from other data in the table should not be included. Large groups of individual values should be avoided; instead, these should be averaged and an appropriate designation of the dispersion, such as standard deviation or standard error, should be included. Authors are obligated to indicate the significance of their observations by appropriate statistical analysis.

Every table must have a descriptive title and enough explanatory information so the reader can understand the data without reference to the text. Table titles should be short and to the point and should generally not include references. Each column must carry an appropriate heading and, if measurements are given, the units should be given with the column heading. Number tables using Arabic numerals; table footnotes should be indicated with lower-case alphabetical letters: a, b, c, etc. Include a note after the footnotes in which all abbreviations used in the table that have not been used in the text are explained. Complex or large tables should be uploaded in a tabular data file format as supplementary data.

Tables should not be included as part of a figure. Authors are discouraged from submitting tables that have been previously published, even with permission.


Please see Statistics and Images for important editorial policy information related to figures. Figures should be used when salient points need illustration for better comprehension by the reader. Figures must be submitted in their final design and color format. All figures that the author intends to have printed in black and white should be supplied in this format so that editors and reviewers can properly evaluate the presentation of the data. For initial submission only, figures may be supplied in pdf, jpg or Word document format and should be on the same page as the legend, either at the end of the manuscript file or embedded in the text near the figure callout. See File Types for details on the allowable file types for revised manuscripts.

Each figure must be accompanied by a figure legend consisting of a short title sentence followed by a description of the figure and the data shown. If the figure consists of multiple panels, each panel should be labeled and described in the legend. Figure legends must include the number of technical and biological replicates performed for the experiment(s) depicted. Legends should not repeat details present in the main text and should generally not include references. Stains and original magnifications should be listed where applicable. Define all symbols and adequately identify all parts of the figure necessary for interpretation. Abbreviations explained in the main text of the manuscript need not be redefined in the figure legend.

Figures must be cited and numbered in the order in which they appear in the text. For revised submissions, all figure legends should be listed together in one section (Figure Legends) directly preceding the appearance of the figures in the manuscript. Ensure that both legends and figures are numbered and match up appropriately.

When graphs are reduced to the size of a single column (7.94 cm / 3.125 in), the text in the graph must be no smaller than 6 pt and no larger than 12 pt, and all symbols must be discernible. In the published form, the minimum thickness of lines (rules) used to present drawn art is 0.5 point. If a drawn image will be reduced in size for publication, the lines used to draw the original art must be thick enough to be reduced and still meet the minimum requirement. Lines thinner than 0.5 point thickness may be completely lost if an image is reduced in size.

Best practices for choice of graph type

  • Reserve bar charts for presentation of data such as counts and lengths.
  • Use a line graph to display and connect related data points and a bar graph for unrelated data points.
  • Sample data is best displayed by plotting individual data points when sample numbers are small. Use a box plot, violin plot, or bean plot for larger sample sizes and to show data distributions. See Statistics for guidelines on sample sizes. A free tool for plotting sample data and generating an EPS file for incorporation into figures is available at
  • A pie chart is effective for showing data trends, but, if it is important to provide quantitative comparisons, a bar graph may be preferable.

Best practices for graph design

  • Avoid the use of patterned fills. These add visual clutter and impede interpretation. Use black, up to four shades of gray, and white to provide six alternative encodings; or use color if more encodings are required.
  • Always use distinct colors and avoid the use of red and green for contrast.
  • Avoid background shading.
  • Display only the left and bottom axes unless a top and/or right axis is absolutely necessary.
  • Axes labels should not extend beyond the axes lines and must include the name and units of the parameter measured.
  • Consider whether related data plotted in multiple graphs can and should be shown in a single graph.
  • Remove unnecessary tick marks and grid lines. Use grid lines only when necessary and make sure they have substantially less visual prominence than the data and axes lines.
  • Avoid axes breaks. These can mask important differences in the data.
  • Open symbols, particularly circles, are most appropriate for plotting high-density data points that overlap.

Best practices for images

  • When images are related to one another or should be compared, group them together with narrow bands of white space between them. If the image background is close to white, use lines for separation.
  • Symbols, arrows, letters, and scale bars overlying the image should strongly contrast with the background so as to be clearly visible and are best provided on a separate layer from the underlying image in a layered image file.
  • Single channel fluorescence images are best displayed in grayscale so that intensity differences can be discerned more accurately. Avoid the use of red, which is particularly problematic in this regard.

Figures should be original. Authors are discouraged from submitting figures that have been previously published, even with permission. If use of a previously published figure is necessary, the author must apply for written permission from the copyright holder and supply confirmation of the permission grant before publication.


Supplementary Data

Supplementary data is intended to provide additional substantive information that is directly relevant to the article content but not essential for understanding the conclusions. The article must stand on its own merits and be complete and self-explanatory without the supplementary data. Additional text, such as supplementary results or discussion, is not acceptable and should be included in the main article. Supplementary data should be equal in quality and presentation to material within the main article. The supplementary data are subject to the same scientific standards of peer review and are included at the discretion of the editor. Each supplementary item/file must be referenced at least once in the main article text at an appropriate point. Supplementary items should be referred to in a similar manner to that used for a table or figure in the body of the manuscript, for example, "(Supplementary Fig. S1)" or "(Table 3 and Supplementary Table S3)." Each supplementary file should be accompanied by a brief description to be entered in the submission system when uploading the files. The description will be posted online to communicate the contents of the file and to aid in online indexing. Supplementary figures must include full legends (preferably on the same page as the figure) and tables should include captions.

General Guidelines on Acceptability

  • Supplementary data should fall within the conceptual scope of the main manuscript but not extend beyond it. Preliminary data that simply extend the scope of the study should not be included.
  • Supplementary material should not repeat information that is already included in the main manuscript.
  • Data that have been previously published are not acceptable.
  • Supplementary data may also be that which cannot be included in the main version of the manuscript due to space constraints (e.g., limits placed on the number of figures and tables allowed in an article) or format restrictions.
  • Within the above guidelines, supplementary files may include the following:
    • Figures and tables
    • More detailed materials and methods than can be included in the body of the article, but the main text should contain sufficient methodology for an experienced investigator to replicate the experiments
    • Electronic multimedia files (e.g., video, audio, or animation)
    • Database information
    • Three-dimensional structures/images, sequence alignments, and data sets that are very large


File Types

The following file types are acceptable file formats for the main manuscript files:

  • Manuscript files: Word (doc, docx), Encapsulated Postscript (eps), Rich Text Format (rtf), or pdf (accepted for initial submissions only)
  • Graphics files: eps, tiff, ai, psd, png, ps, or jpg (accepted for initial submissions only). Powerpoint (ppt, pptx) files are discouraged but may be acceptable. Color images should be supplied in RGB.

For supplementary data the following file types are preferable: pdf, doc, docx, txt, xls, xlsx, xml, png, avi, mov, mp4, mp3 and zip. Other file types may be acceptable but please contact the journal editorial office.


Terminology and Abbreviations

For information on gene and protein nomenclature and formatting, please see Gene Nomenclature.

Generic names of drugs are preferred. To help identify compounds that may not be recognized by their generic name, the brand name may be included at first mention only. If a non-U.S. proprietary name is used, the name of the comparable U.S. product should be given. When there is no generic name for a drug, authors should give the chemical name or formula or a description of the active ingredients. Authors should refer to the formally adopted generic names listed in the current edition of USAN and the USP Dictionary of Drug Names.

Abbreviations are in general a hindrance to readers in fields other than that of the author(s), to abstractors, and to scientists whose primary language is not English. Authors should limit their use. See our brief list of Standard Abbreviations that may be used without explanation (e.g., DNA). All abbreviations not on this list must be spelled out at first mention in both the abstract and the text. Single words (e.g., melanoma, folate, vincristine) should not be abbreviated, nor should abbreviations be used for individual types of cancer or other diseases that consist of two words (e.g., prostate cancer or breast cancer).

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