The rejuvenated scenario of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cancer metastasis
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- Meng, F. & Wu, G. Cancer Metastasis Rev (2012) 31: 455. doi:10.1007/s10555-012-9379-3
The molecular mechanisms underlying cancer progression and metastasis are still poorly understood. In recent years, the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a traditional phenomenon revealed in embryonic development, has been gradually accepted as a potential mechanism underlying cancer progression and metastasis. Many cell signaling pathways involved in development have been shown to contribute to EMT. An increasing number of genetic and epigenetic elements have been discovered, and their cross-talk relationship in EMT remains to be explored. In addition, accumulating experimental evidence suggests that EMT plays a critical role in different aspects of cancer progression, such as metastasis, stem cell traits, and chemoresistance. However, there are some disagreements and debate about these studies, which raise critical questions worthy of further investigation. Solving these questions will lead to a more complete understanding of cancer metastasis. Due to the close relationship of EMT to cancer metastasis and chemoresistance, targeting EMT or reversing EMT is likely to lead to novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of human cancers.