Epithelial to mesenchymal transition and breast cancer

Breast Cancer Res. 2009;11(6):213. doi: 10.1186/bcr2416. Epub 2009 Nov 9.


Epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity in breast carcinoma encompasses the phenotypic spectrum whereby epithelial carcinoma cells within a primary tumor acquire mesenchymal features and re-epithelialize to form a cohesive secondary mass at a metastatic site. Such plasticity has implications in progression of breast carcinoma to metastasis, and will likely influence response to therapy. The transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of molecular and cellular processes that underlie breast cancer and result in characteristic changes in cell behavior can be monitored using an increasing array of marker proteins. Amongst these markers exists the potential for emergent prognostic, predictive and therapeutic targeting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology*
  • Mesoderm / pathology