Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition in Development and Diseases

Part of the Cancer Drug Discovery and Development book series (CDD&D)


Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is critical for appropriate embryo implantation, embryogenesis, wound healing, tissue regeneration, and organ development. During this EMT process, epithelial cells lose the adherent and tight junctions. They gain a mesenchymal cell phenotype that enables them to invade and migrate over long distances and resist apoptosis. A similar process is also detected in tumor metastasis, suggesting that the tumor cells hijack this developmental pathway for tumor progression. Here, we review three different types of EMT in physiological and pathological conditions with special focus on the new development on type 3 EMT in metastasis. We summarize the recent new findings on tumor microenvironment, signaling pathways, and mechanisms underlying the regulation of EMT at metastasis. Understanding the biology of EMT will open new avenues for controlling fibrosis and cancer progression.


Cancer Stem Cell Notch Signaling Snail Expression Organ Fibrosis Tumor Invasive Front 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We apologize to the many contributors to this field whose works are important while we are unable to cite here. Our study is supported by the grants from NIH (RO1CA125454), the Susan G Komen Foundation (KG081310), and the Mary Kay Ash Foundation (to B.P. Zhou).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Markey Cancer CenterUniversity of Kentucky School of MedicineLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Molecular and Cellular BiochemistryUniversity of Kentucky School of MedicineLexingtonUSA

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