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.