Clinical & Experimental Metastasis

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 629–642 | Cite as

Epithelial mesenchymal transition traits in human breast cancer cell lines

  • T. Blick
  • E. Widodo
  • H. Hugo
  • M. Waltham
  • M. E. Lenburg
  • R. M. Neve
  • E. W. Thompson
Research Paper


Epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) has long been associated with breast cancer cell invasiveness and evidence of EMT processes in clinical samples is growing rapidly. Genome-wide transcriptional profiling of increasingly larger numbers of human breast cancer (HBC) cell lines have confirmed the existence of a subgroup of cell lines (termed Basal B/Mesenchymal) with enhanced invasive properties and a predominantly mesenchymal gene expression signature, distinct from subgroups with predominantly luminal (termed Luminal) or mixed basal/luminal (termed Basal A) features (Neve et al Cancer Cell 2006). Studies providing molecular and cellular analyses of EMT features in these cell lines are summarised, and the expression levels of EMT-associated factors in these cell lines are analysed. Recent clinical studies supporting the presence of EMT-like changes in vivo are summarised. Human breast cancer cell lines with mesenchymal properties continue to hold out the promise of directing us towards key mechanisms at play in the metastatic dissemination of breast cancer.


EMT Basal Luminal Mesenchymal Breast cancer Breast cancer stem cells 



Epithelial mesenchymal transition


Epidermal growth factor


Human breast cancer


Type I insulin-like growth factor receptor


Mesenchymal epithelial transition


Tumor necrosis factor alpha


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Blick
    • 1
  • E. Widodo
    • 2
    • 3
  • H. Hugo
    • 4
  • M. Waltham
    • 1
  • M. E. Lenburg
    • 5
    • 6
  • R. M. Neve
    • 6
  • E. W. Thompson
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.VBCRC Invasion and Metastasis UnitSt. Vincent’s InstituteMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.University of Melbourne, Department of Surgery, St. Vincent’s HospitalFitzroyAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineBrawijaya UniversityEast JavaIndonesia
  4. 4.Embryology LaboratoryMurdoch Children’s Research Institute, The Royal Children’s HospitalParkvilleAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Genetics and GenomicsBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  6. 6.Life Sciences DivisionLawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryBerkeleyUSA

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