EMT in Breast Cancer - How Cancer Cells Exploit a Developmental Program
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As a cellular program that allows polarized, immotile epithelial cells to adopt a motile, mesenchymal phenotype, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has become a focal point of interest in cancer research. EMT is considered as a powerful mechanism that facilitates invasion and metastasis in a variety of aggressive cancers including breast cancer. The lack of effective therapies for metastatic breast cancer and its poor prognosis urge for a detailed characterization of EMT that might enable the development of novel cancer therapies. To provide insight into previous findings of the complex program of EMT, this thesis discusses events in both mammary development and breast cancer progression where the morphological conversion has been observed. Furthermore, the mechanisms behind the inappropriate reactivation of EMT in breast cancer cells will be reviewed with a focus on induction of EMT and consequent transcriptional reprogramming.