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Biology of Cancer: Find Articles

Designed to help students in 21:120:402:01 find appropriate resources for their paper and poster assignments

Find Articles

Two of the best indexes/databases to search for relevant articles are MEDLINE and PubMed.  Below is more information about each, including searching tips.  For more information about how to access the full-text of the articles on interest, visit the sub-page titled Full-text articles.


Produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the MEDLINE database is widely recognized as the premier source for bibliographic and abstract coverage of biomedical literature. MEDLINE provides information from the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, as well as coverage in the areas of allied health, biological and physical sciences, humanities and information science as they relate to medicine and health care, communication disorders, population biology, and reproductive biology. The database contains more than 25 million citations from 5,200 biomedical journals published in the United States and other countries.

It also includes In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, which provide basic information and abstracts for newly published articles before they are indexed with MeSH headings. It also includes ePub Ahead of Print records for articles submitted to the National Library of Medicine before a journal issue’s publication.

MEDLINE search tips

Search tip 1:  

Enter keywords to map terms to relevant subject headings.

Search tip 2: 

When selecting the best subject heading, click on its Focus box to ensure that it will be the primary focus of the article.

Search tip 3:  

Combine previous searches with AND if you want to see those results that overlap. 

Search tip 4:  

Consider using the Limits to narrow down your results (e.g., English Language; Humans; Review Articles). Also consider looking at the Additional Limits - for example, to select Clinical Trial, Phase II and/or Clinical Trial, Phase III (use the Ctrl button to select both) under Publication Types.


Developed by the National Library of Medicine, PubMed includes MEDLINE records.  Although it contains only citations and abstracts, it does provide links to full-text articles in PubMed Central and participating publishers, as well as to Rutgers-subscribed content.  It also provides access and links to the integrated molecular biology databases included in NCBI's Entrez retrieval system.  Use PubMed to search the biomedical literature.  Coverage dates: 1950s-present

PubMed search tips

Search tip 1: 

Use the Advanced Search option!

Search tip 2: 

Consider refining your results by Article types (e.g., Review; Clinical Trial; Clinical Trial, Phase II, Clinical Trial, Phase III). To see all options, click on Customize... under Article types.

Search tip 3: 

Consider sorting by Best match.

Search tip 4:

When you use the search box on the PubMed home page, your search will be interpreted as a keyword search.  Appropriate MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) terms will be added using the Boolean operator, OR.  If you'd like to see what the MeSH terms are before you begin searching, you can consult the MeSH database.

To incorporate the terms into your search, you might select Advanced search to build your search.  Then you can select MeSH from the list where you see All Fields displayed and then go to Index Terms to select the subject heading you want.

Search tip 5:

On the search results page, you'll see the box, Search Detail, which will tell you exactly what actions the search engine took.  You can edit these actions if you wish to focus on MeSH terms only.  When you're ready, just click on the Search button.  You can also click on See more.... to get a larger version of your search that's easier to edit.

Search tip 6:

Having second thoughts about a search you ran earlier in your current session?  Do you want to review a citation you displayed previously?  Look for the Recent activity box in the lower right corner of the screen and click on the action you'd like to repeat.


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