Concise Review: Stem Cells and Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Cancer: Biological Implications and Therapeutic Targets

Ryo Sato, Takashi Semba, Hideyuki Saya, Yoshimi Arima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) constitute a small subpopulation of cancer cells with stem-like properties that are able to self-renew, generate differentiated daughter cells, and give rise to heterogeneous tumor tissue. Tumor heterogeneity is a hallmark of cancer and underlies resistance to anticancer therapies and disease progression. The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a reversible phenomenon that is mediated by EMT-inducing transcription factors (EMT-TFs) and plays an important role in normal organ development, wound healing, and the invasiveness of cancer cells. Recent evidence showing that overexpression of several EMT-TFs is associated with stemness in cancer cells has suggested the existence of a link between EMT and CSCs. In this review, we focus on the roles of CSCs and EMT signaling in driving tumor heterogeneity. A better understanding of the dynamics of both CSCs and EMT-TFs in the generation of tumor heterogeneity may provide a basis for the development of new treatment options for cancer patients. Stem Cells 2016;34:1997–2007.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1997-2007
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cells
Volume34
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 1

Keywords

  • Cancer stem cell
  • Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
  • Therapeutic resistance
  • Tumor heterogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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