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Distinct contributions of partial and full EMT to breast cancer malignancy

Lüönd, Fabiana, Sugiyama, Nami, Bill, Ruben, Bornes, Laura, Hager, Carolina, Tang, Fengyuan, Santacroce, Natascha, Beisel, Christian, Ivanek, Robert, Bürglin, Thomas, Tiede, Stefanie, van Rheenen, Jacco and Christofori, Gerhard (2021) Distinct contributions of partial and full EMT to breast cancer malignancy. Developmental cell, 56 (23). 3203-3221.e11. ISSN 1878-1551


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a transient, reversible process of cell de-differentiation where cancer cells transit between various stages of an EMT continuum, including epithelial, partial EMT, and mesenchymal cell states. We have employed Tamoxifen-inducible dual recombinase lineage tracing systems combined with live imaging and 5-cell RNA sequencing to track cancer cells undergoing partial or full EMT in the MMTV-PyMT mouse model of metastatic breast cancer. In primary tumors, cancer cells infrequently undergo EMT and mostly transition between epithelial and partial EMT states but rarely reach full EMT. Cells undergoing partial EMT contribute to lung metastasis and chemoresistance, whereas full EMT cells mostly retain a mesenchymal phenotype and fail to colonize the lungs. However, full EMT cancer cells are enriched in recurrent tumors upon chemotherapy. Hence, cancer cells in various stages of the EMT continuum differentially contribute to hallmarks of breast cancer malignancy, such as tumor invasion, metastasis, and chemoresistance.

Item Type: Article
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2022 00:45
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2022 00:45


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