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Call for papers - Cancer-associated fibroblasts

Guest Editors

Lukas Lacina, MD, PhD, Charles University, Czech Republic 
Karel Smetana, Jr., DrSc, MUDr, Charles University, Czech Republic

Submission Status: Open   |   Submission Deadline: 13 March 2025

This Collection seeks to gather research on cancer-associated fibroblasts, exploring their multifaceted roles in the tumor microenvironment. We invite submissions that investigate the molecular and phenotypic heterogeneity of CAFs, their influence on tumor progression, and their potential as therapeutic targets. By advancing our understanding of CAFs, this Collection aims to inform the development of innovative strategies for cancer treatment and improve patient outcomes.

New Content ItemThis Collection supports and amplifies research related to SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being.

Meet the Guest Editors

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Lukas Lacina, MD, PhD, Charles University, Czech Republic

Dr Lukas Lacina graduated from the general medicine program at Charles University, Prague in 2004. In 2008, he completed his doctoral studies in the laboratory of Prof Karel Smetana at the Institute of Anatomy in Prague. He also gained board certification in clinical dermatology with particular interest in skin cancer diagnostics and therapy. As a post-doc, Dr Lacina joined research group of Prof E. Birgitte Lane (Epithelial Biology Lab) at Institute of Medical Biology, A*STAR, Singapore (2012–2015). In his research, Dr Lacina focuses on epithelial-mesenchymal interactions and the role of tissue microenvironment of various cancer types.

Karel Smetana, Jr., DrSc, MUDr, Charles University, Czech Republic

Dr Karel Smetana is a professor of anatomy and head emeritus of the Institute of Anatomy, 1st Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. His research is focused on cell biology, predominantly on the role of cancer-associated fibroblasts in tumor biology. He is the author of more than 250 scientific articles and his impact factor is 35. His research was awarded by the Charles University Silver Medal, Award of the Minister of the Education, Sports, and Youth of the Czech Republic for the Research and National Scientific Award of the Czech Republic.

About the Collection

Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are a group of activated fibroblasts within the tumor microenvironment, categorized by their heterogeneity and plasticity. They are important parts of the microenvironment, actively shaping the tumor ecosystem by modulating cancer cell behavior and exerting influence on cancer progression, therapeutic response, and metastasis. Through paracrine signaling, extracellular matrix remodeling, and immune cell interactions, CAFs have profound effects on tumor initiation, progression, and treatment outcomes.

Recent evidence suggests that CAFs contribute to therapy resistance and disease recurrence, presenting significant challenges to the efficacy of conventional cancer therapies. Preclinical studies also suggest the potential that CAFs can be reduced, eliminated, or reprogrammed; however, clinical translation has not yet happened. Overall, current research on CAFs continues to face many challenges. Thus, a better understanding of the complexities of CAF biology is essential for the development of novel therapeutic strategies that can overcome these obstacles and improve patient outcomes.

In this context, this Collection on Cancer associated fibroblasts for BMC Cancer will showcase findings and insights in the field. We invite researchers to contribute their original research, reviews, and perspectives to this Collection, addressing the following topics:

  • Functional diversity of CAFs
  • CAFs and tumor progression
  • Novel therapeutic strategies
  • Clinical implications
  • Role of CAFs in immune evasion
  • Crosstalk between CAFs and cancer stem cells
  • Contribution of CAF-derived exosomes to tumor progression
  • Interactions between CAFs and the tumor vasculature
  • Influence of CAFs on therapeutic response in preclinical models
  • Identification of novel CAF-specific biomarkers
  • Engineering CAF-targeting therapies for clinical application

Image credit: © Caleb Foster /

There are currently no articles in this collection.

Submission Guidelines

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This Collection welcomes submission of original Research Articles. Should you wish to submit a different article type, please read our submission guidelines to confirm that type is accepted by the journal. Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission system, Snapp. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a Collection, please select "Cancer-associated fibroblasts" from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.