Title: Re-evaluating the role of epithelial-mesenchymal-transition in cancer progression


Authors: Andrew Sulaiman1,2,3, Zemin Yao1,2,3, Lisheng Wang1,2,3,4


Institutions: 1Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Canada; 2China-Canada Centre of Research for Digestive Diseases; Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8M5, Canada; 3Regenerative Medicine Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8L6, Canada.


Abstract: Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) are essential for embryonic development and also important in cancer progression. In a conventional model, epithelial-like cancer cells transit to mesenchymal-like tumor cells with great motility via EMT transcription factors; these mesenchymal-like cells migrate through the circulation system, relocate to a suitable site and then convert back to an epithelial-like phenotype to regenerate the tumor. However, recent findings challenge this conventional model and support the existence of a stable hybrid epithelial/mesenchymal (E/M) tumor population. Hybrid E/M tumor cells exhibit both epithelial and mesenchymal properties, possess great metastatic and tumorigenic capacity and are associated with poorer patient prognosis. The hybrid E/M model and associated regulatory networks represent a conceptual change regarding tumor metastasis and organ colonization. It may lead to the development of novel treatment strategies to ultimately stop cancer progression and improve disease-free survival.


Keywords: Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET), hybrid EMT/MET, cancer metastasis


Full Text: JBR-2016-0124.pdf


J Biomed Res published on December 28th, 2016, doi:10.7555/JBR.31.20160124