Pre-EMTing metastasis? Recapitulation of morphogenetic processes in cancer

Clin Exp Metastasis. 2007;24(8):587-97. doi: 10.1007/s10585-007-9114-6. Epub 2007 Nov 3.


EMT (epithelial-mesenchymal transition) is a morphogenetic process in which cells loose their epithelial characteristics and gain mesenchymal properties during embryogenesis. Similar processes regulated by similar pathways are recapitulated during tumour progression, endowing cells with invasive properties, thereby contributing to the formation of metastases. In this review, we outline key features of EMT and discuss the evidence for its involvement in the dissemination of tumours. Finally we review the recent literature concerning the mechanisms that regulate EMT in the tumour context, with a particular focus on breast cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Epithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Mesoderm / cytology*
  • Morphogenesis*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*