Generation of breast cancer stem cells through epithelial-mesenchymal transition

PLoS One. 2008 Aug 6;3(8):e2888. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002888.


Recently, two novel concepts have emerged in cancer biology: the role of so-called "cancer stem cells" in tumor initiation, and the involvement of an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in the metastatic dissemination of epithelial cancer cells. Using a mammary tumor progression model, we show that cells possessing both stem and tumorigenic characteristics of "cancer stem cells" can be derived from human mammary epithelial cells following the activation of the Ras-MAPK pathway. The acquisition of these stem and tumorigenic characters is driven by EMT induction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast / cytology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / virology
  • CD24 Antigen / analysis
  • CD24 Antigen / genetics
  • Cell Division
  • Colony-Forming Units Assay
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology*
  • Epithelial Cells / virology
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / analysis
  • Mesoderm / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Retroviridae
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Stem Cells / virology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • CD24 Antigen
  • Hyaluronan Receptors