Diverse cellular and molecular mechanisms contribute to epithelial plasticity and metastasis

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2003 Aug;4(8):657-65. doi: 10.1038/nrm1175.


In contrast to the aberrant control of proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis and lifespan, the cellular mechanisms that cause local invasion and metastasis of tumour cells are still poorly understood. New experimental approaches have identified different types of epithelial-plasticity changes in tumour cells towards fibroblastoid phenotypes as crucial events that occur during metastasis, and many molecules and signalling pathways cooperate to trigger these processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Phenotype
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • ras Proteins / metabolism


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • ras Proteins