Contribution of epithelial-mesenchymal transitions to organogenesis and cancer metastasis

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The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays crucial roles during development, and inappropriate activation of EMTs are associated with tumor progression and promoting metastasis. In recent years, increasing studies have identified developmental contexts where cells undergo an EMT and transition to a partial-state, downregulating just a subset of epithelial characteristics and increasing only some mesenchymal traits, such as invasive motility. In parallel, recent studies have shown that EMTs are rarely fully activated in tumor cells, generating a diverse array of transition states. As our appreciation of the full spectrum of intermediate phenotypes and the huge diversity in underlying mechanisms grows, cross-disciplinary collaborations investigating developmental-EMTs and cancer-EMTs will be fundamental in order to achieve a full mechanistic understanding of this complex cell process.




Campbell, K. (2018, December 1). Contribution of epithelial-mesenchymal transitions to organogenesis and cancer metastasis. Current Opinion in Cell Biology. Elsevier Ltd.

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