Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and distant site metastasis is the main cause of death in breast cancer patients. There is increasing evidence supporting the role of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in tumor cell progression, invasion, and metastasis. During the process of EMT, epithelial cancer cells acquire molecular alternations that facilitate the loss of epithelial features and gain of mesenchymal phenotype. Such transformation promotes cancer cell migration and invasion. Moreover, emerging evidence suggests that EMT is associated with the increased enrichment of cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) and these CSCs display mesenchymal characteristics that are resistant to chemotherapy and target therapy. However, the clinical relevance of EMT in human cancer is still under debate. This review will provide an overview of current evidence of EMT from studies using clinical human breast cancer tissues and its associated challenges.
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