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Cancers 2017, 9(10), 134; doi:10.3390/cancers9100134

The Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition in Breast Cancer: Focus on Basal-Like Carcinomas

CNR—Institute of Experimental Endocrinology and Oncology, 80131 Naples, Italy
Dipartimento di Ricerca Traslazionale a Supporto dei Percorsi Oncologici, S.C. Genomica Funzionale, Istituto Nazionale Tumori—IRCCS—Fondazione G Pascale, 80131 Naples, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Joëlle Roche
Received: 27 July 2017 / Revised: 13 September 2017 / Accepted: 28 September 2017 / Published: 30 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) in Cancer)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [817 KB, uploaded 30 September 2017]   |  


Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease that is characterized by a high grade of cell plasticity arising from the contribution of a diverse range of factors. When combined, these factors allow a cancer cell to transition from an epithelial to a mesenchymal state through a process of dedifferentiation that confers stem-like features, including chemoresistance, as well as the capacity to migrate and invade. Understanding the complex events that lead to the acquisition of a mesenchymal phenotype will therefore help to design new therapies against metastatic breast cancer. Here, we recapitulate the main endogenous molecular signals involved in this process, and their cross-talk with paracrine factors. These signals and cross-talk include the extracellular matrix; the secretome of cancer-associated fibroblasts, macrophages, cancer stem cells, and cancer cells; and exosomes with their cargo of miRNAs. Finally, we highlight some of the more promising therapeutic perspectives based on counteracting the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in breast cancer cells. View Full-Text
Keywords: breast cancer; TNBC; EMT; tumor plasticity; molecular signaling; exosomes; miRNAs; αvβ3; differentiation therapy breast cancer; TNBC; EMT; tumor plasticity; molecular signaling; exosomes; miRNAs; αvβ3; differentiation therapy

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Fedele, M.; Cerchia, L.; Chiappetta, G. The Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition in Breast Cancer: Focus on Basal-Like Carcinomas. Cancers 2017, 9, 134.

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