During the past few years, Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) has emerged as one of the most hot spots in clinical research. Its existence in human tumors can form the basis for explaining characteristics of cancer progression and metastasis, as well as certain cases of drug resistance and relapses after treatment. These cellular responses are tightly regulated by intracellular signaling pathways evoked by humoral factors that include growth factors, chemokines and cytokines. Indeed, several gene regulatory programs known to promote EMT during development have recently been discovered to play key roles in cancer progression. A deeper understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of these different programs should aid in both the development of better diagnosis methods, as well as of specific treatments for invasive cancer. In this review we set out to summarize recent novel insights into the molecular players underlying EMT and its relation with cancer progression and metastasis.
Keywords: Cancer, EMT, invasion, metastasis, MMP, NF-B, RTKs, TGF-, humoral factors, molecular players underlying EMT, epithelial cells phenotype, epithelial genes, cell-matrix interactions, pathological processes, cell surface E-cadherin