Epithelial-mesenchymal Transition: A New Target in Anticancer Drug Discovery

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2016 May;15(5):311-25. doi: 10.1038/nrd.2015.13. Epub 2016 Jan 29.

Abstract

The conversion of cells with an epithelial phenotype into cells with a mesenchymal phenotype, referred to as epithelial-mesenchymal transition, is a critical process for embryonic development that also occurs in adult life, particularly during tumour progression. Tumour cells undergoing epithelial-mesenchymal transition acquire the capacity to disarm the body's antitumour defences, resist apoptosis and anticancer drugs, disseminate throughout the organism, and act as a reservoir that replenishes and expands the tumour cell population. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition is therefore becoming a target of prime interest for anticancer therapy. Here, we discuss the screening and classification of compounds that affect epithelial-mesenchymal transition, highlight some compounds of particular interest, and address issues related to their clinical application.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*

Substances

  • Antineoplastic Agents