Decoding the Knots of Initiation of Oncogenic Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Tumor Progression

Author(s): Pengda Guo, Aidi Gao, Gaochuan Zhang, Hongyan Han, Quansheng Zhou

Journal Name: Current Cancer Drug Targets

Volume 13 , Issue 9 , 2013

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Oncogenic epithelial-mesenchymal transition (oncEMT) plays important roles in the genesis of cancer stem cells (CSCs), malignant tumor initiation and progression, cancer metastasis, and drug resistance. Although the role of oncEMT in tumorigenesis has recently been extensively studied, the initiation of oncEMT is not clearly understood, and its mechanisms of action are still unknown. Emerging evidence suggests that oncEMT is a complex process, which involves multiple endogenous and exogenous factors. Overexpression of several oncogenes and reprogramming factors in precancerous and cancerous cells, including Ras, Myc, Bmi-1, Oct4, Nanog, Slug, Twist, Zeb1, and Zeb2, may initiate oncEMT and tumorigenesis. Defects in key tumor suppressors, such as p53, PTEN, CCN6 protein, and p21 also are associated with oncEMT. MicroRNA (miRNA) may also play a role in the oncEMT. Furthermore, exogenous factors, including chemical carcinogens, viruses, radiation, hypoxia, and acidic microenvironment, can drive oncEMT. Moreover, various growth factors derived from either malignant tumor cells or tumor-associated non-tumor cells in the cancer microenvironment can promote oncEMT. Together, the endogenous and exogenous factors, as well as a hostile cancer microenvironment, initiate the oncEMT program through diverse signaling pathways and networks. However, the dynamic process of initiating oncEMT and the mechanisms are still incompletely understood. Further characterization of the dynamics and mechanisms of the oncEMT will provide new insights into oncogenesis, as well as identify specific oncEMT markers and targets for early diagnosis of cancer and novel anti-cancer drug discovery.

Keywords: Cancer stem cells, EMT, microenvironment, miRNA, oncogene, tumor metastasis, tumor suppressor.

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Article Details

Year: 2013
Published on: 12 December, 2013
Page: [996 - 1011]
Pages: 16
DOI: 10.2174/15680096113136660105
Price: $65

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