Epithelial-mesenchymal Transition and Drug Resistance in Breast Cancer (Review)

Int J Oncol. 2015 Sep;47(3):840-8. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2015.3084. Epub 2015 Jul 16.


Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide. Insensitivity of tumor cells to drug therapies is an essential reason arousing such high mortality. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is defined by the loss of epithelial characteristics and the acquisition of a mesenchymal phenotype. It is well known that EMT plays an important role in breast cancer progression. Recently, mounting evidence has demonstrated involvement of EMT in antagonizing chemotherapy in breast cancer. Here, we discuss the biological significance and clinical implications of these findings, with an emphasis on novel approaches that effectively target EMT to increase the efficacy of anticancer therapies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition* / drug effects
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents