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Epithelial mesenchymal transition from a natural gestational orchestration to a bizarre cancer disturbance


  • Reza Shirkoohi

    Corresponding author
    • Genetic Group, Cancer Research Center, Cancer Institute of Iran, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran
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  • This is a review article about EMT phenomena, which always occurs in the early steps of life and could occur as a pathologic process during diseases and in advanced stages of cancer.

To whom correspondence should be addressed.

E-mail: rshirkoohi@tums.ac.ir


The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), a pathologic phenomenon in cancer, has a twin in the embryonic period of life. In the first one, its promotion will cause metastasis to become a life-threatening stage of cancer, while in the second it will lead to organogenesis, which is necessary for all living creatures. There is one more from this phenomenon, which occurs during the wound healing process and if dys-regulated can lead to fibrosis. In both there are stimulants in common and one that are different. Stages start from cell–cell junction dissociation followed by morphological changes and behavioral and essence alterations. To control the EMT as a bizarre disturbance in cancer and metastasis, initially it is better to understand the wonder of natural gestational orchestration in early life. In this review, first the structure of the two heads of the spectrum is described followed by the cellular and micro-environmental alterations during this phenomenon. Understanding cellular behavior in this process and what makes them invasive resistant stemness cells will be of great importance in highlighting roads to cancer treatment. (Cancer Sci 2013; 104: 28–35)