Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2014 Oct 15;3:35.
doi: 10.1186/s40169-014-0035-0. eCollection 2014.

Novel Clinical Therapeutics Targeting the Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition

Free PMC article

Novel Clinical Therapeutics Targeting the Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition

Anai N Kothari et al. Clin Transl Med. .
Free PMC article


The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is implicated in many processes, ranging from tissue and organogenesis to cancer and metastatic spread. Understanding the key regulatory mechanisms and mediators within this process offers the opportunity to develop novel therapeutics with broad clinical applicability. To date, several components of EMT already are targeted using pharmacologic agents in fibrosis and cancer. As our knowledge of EMT continues to grow, the potential for novel therapeutics will also increase. This review focuses on the role of EMT both as a necessary part of development and a key player in disease progression, specifically the similarity in pathways used during both processes as targets for drug development. Also, the key role of the tumor microenvironment with EMT is outlined, focusing on both co-factors and cell types with the ability to modulate the progression of EMT in cancer and metastatic disease. Lastly, we discuss the current status of clinical therapies both in development and those progressed to clinical trial specifically targeting pathologic EMTs including small molecule inhibitors, non-coding RNAs, exogenous co-factors, and adjunctive therapies to current chemotherapeutics.

Keywords: Cancer associated fibroblasts; Epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT); Small molecule inhibitors; TGFβ.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Schematic of EMT, EMT inducers, and potential or existing areas within the framework for therapeutic intervention.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 29 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Nieto MA. The ins and outs of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition in health and disease. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2011;27:347–376. - PubMed
    1. Weber CE, Li NY, Wai PY, Kuo PC. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition, TGF-beta, and osteopontin in wound healing and tissue remodeling after injury. J Burn Care Res. 2012;33:311–318. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Klymkowsky MW, Savagner P. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition: a cancer researcher’s conceptual friend and foe. The Am J Pathol. 2009;174:1588–1593. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Kalluri R, Neilson EG. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition and its implications for fibrosis. J Clin Invest. 2003;112:1776–1784. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Lamouille S, Xu J, Derynck R. Molecular mechanisms of epithelial–mesenchymal transition. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2014;15:178–196. - PMC - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources