• Open Access

Epithelial–mesenchymal transition in cancer development and its clinical significance

Authors

  • Masaaki Iwatsuki,

    1. Department of Surgical Oncology, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, Beppu
    2. Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto
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  • Koshi Mimori,

    1. Department of Surgical Oncology, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, Beppu
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  • Takehiko Yokobori,

    1. Department of Surgical Oncology, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, Beppu
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  • Hideshi Ishi,

    1. Department of Surgical Oncology, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, Beppu
    2. Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Osaka
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  • Toru Beppu,

    1. Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto
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  • Shoji Nakamori,

    1. Department of Surgery, Osaka National Hospital, Osaka, Japan
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  • Hideo Baba,

    1. Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto
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  • Masaki Mori

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Surgical Oncology, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, Beppu
    2. Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Osaka
      To whom correspondence should be addressed.
      E-mail: mmori@gesurg.med.osaka-u.ac.jp
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To whom correspondence should be addressed.
E-mail: mmori@gesurg.med.osaka-u.ac.jp

Abstract

The epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays a critical role in embryonic development. EMT is also involved in cancer progression and metastasis and it is probable that a common molecular mechanism is shared by these processes. Cancer cells undergoing EMT can acquire invasive properties and enter the surrounding stroma, resulting in the creation of a favorable microenvironment for cancer progression and metastasis. Furthermore, the acquisition of EMT features has been associated with chemoresistance which could give rise to recurrence and metastasis after standard chemotherapeutic treatment. Thus, EMT could be closely involved in carcinogenesis, invasion, metastasis, recurrence, and chemoresistance. Research into EMT and its role in cancer pathogenesis has progressed rapidly and it is now hypothesized that novel concepts such as cancer stem cells and microRNA could be involved in EMT. However, the involvement of EMT varies greatly among cancer types, and much remains to be learned. In this review, we present recent findings regarding the involvement of EMT in cancer progression and metastasis and provide a perspective from clinical and translational viewpoints. (Cancer Sci 2009)

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