Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a multistep process in which cells acquire molecular alterations such as loss of cell-cell junctions and restructuring of the cytoskeleton. There is an increasing understanding that this process may promote breast cancer progression through promotion of invasive and metastatic tumor growth. Recent observations imply that there may be a cross-talk between EMT and cancer stem cell properties, leading to enhanced tumorigenicity and the capacity to generate heterogeneous tumor cell populations. Here, we review the experimental and clinical evidence for the involvement of EMT in cancer stem cell theory, focusing on the common characteristics of this phenomenon.
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