Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 185–197 | Cite as

The role of TWIST1 in epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancers



TWIST1 is a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor which plays essential and pivotal roles in multiple stages of embryonic development, and significantly contributes to tumor metastasis, even tumor initiation and primary tumor growth. It is well recognized that TWIST1 is overexpressed in a variety of tumors. Overexpression of TWIST1 induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a key process in the metastases formation of cancer. TWIST1 also promotes the formation of cancer stem cells and facilitates the process of tumorigenesis. Numerous studies have shown that targeting TWIST1 or TWIST1-related molecules significantly inhibits tumor growth, restricts tumor metastasis, reverses drug resistance, and thus improves the survival of cancer patients. Therefore, it is important to provide a better understanding of the context-dependent regulation of TWIST1 in each individual epithelial tumor, which might reveal new therapeutic targets in cancer treatment.


TWIST1 Role Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) Cancers 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 81302032) and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (no. BK20140736).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Respiratory MedicineJinling Hospital, Medical School of Nanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Department of Respiratory MedicineJiangsu Province Hospital of Chinese Medicine, Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University of Chinese MedicineNanjingChina

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