I am excited and honored to serve as the new Editor-in-Chief for Endocrine-Related Cancer, and grateful to the Society for Endocrinology for entrusting me with this fine journal. I am to follow on the footsteps of Mark Lippman, whose tenure was marked by a remarkable growth of ERC, both in style and substance. During his six-year stewardship, the number of published pages increased more than four-fold, and the impact factor of the journal rose from 0.933 in 1999 to 4.59 in 2004. The journal has been a consistent venue for publication of truly exceptional review articles, written by some of the major luminaries in the field. Besides Dr Lippman’s visionary leadership, we also owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the Editorial Board. The quality of the articles is directly attributable to their efforts. Board members confer regularly to identify the major scientific advances in the field, and to select the best possible authors to convey this information in a lucid and comprehensive manner. We wish to extend an open invitation to our readers to participate in this debate, and to communicate suggestions to us on interesting topics and new developments worthy of discussion.
As the number and quality of topical reviews increased, ERC also experienced a commensurate growth in the submission of articles describing original research. We intend to build on this momentum, and to ensure that we publish only papers that describe meaningful advances. Ultimately, we strive to make ERC an essential source for clinical and basic investigators interested in hormone-dependent cancers and in the pathogenesis and treatment of tumors of endocrine organs.
As we turn a new page, it is always helpful to reflect on why the field of endocrine tumors and hormone-dependent cancers justifies a dedicated journal. The first reason is obvious: their study requires an intimate understanding of the mechanisms of regulation of hormone biosynthesis, peripheral metabolism, and cellular action. Those who investigate these cancers must therefore be familiar with endocrine physiology, hormone action as well as tumor genetics and biology. One important mission of ERC is therefore to provide a forum for these areas of interest to overlap and mutually enrich each other. Growth of most endocrine cell types is, by contrast to other epithelial, mesenchymal and hematopoietic cells, positively regulated by the second messenger cAMP. In the case of thyroid, pituitary and adrenal cells, mutations of genes encoding effectors in the cAMP pathway generate oncoproteins that are prominent in the pathogenesis of neoplasia. To fully grasp the genetics and the biology of cancers of these organs therefore requires an understanding of their unique signaling nodes and networks, and ERC is the appropriate place for these discoveries to be described and disseminated.
Finally, it is no secret to our readers and contributors that we have entered a new era in cancer medicine, where the potential for applying specific knowledge on disease pathogenesis to the development of new therapies is becoming a reality. For the reasons outlined above, endocrine cancers have their own peculiar therapeutic targets, and it behooves us to become the generation of scientists and physicians who move these hypothetical opportunities to fruition. ERC, with your help and support, will strive to be an integral part of these exciting times.