The Paradoxes of EMT Theory in Carcinoma Metastasis


The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a process where epithelial cells with polarity and tight junction change into mesenchymal cells without polarity and intercellular adhesion to obtain an ability of invasion and metastasis. Interest in the EMT theory has grown exponentially in the last several years and it has become one of the hottest subjects in cancer research. However, there is no convincing evidence of EMT in human tumor and numerous paradoxes do exist about EMT theory from molecular researches to clinical observations. Thus, the so-called EMT in carcinoma metastasis is probably a pseudo concept at present.

Share and Cite:

Li, M. (2014) The Paradoxes of EMT Theory in Carcinoma Metastasis. Open Access Library Journal, 1, 1-4. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1100937.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Garber, K. (2008) Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition Is Important to Metastasis, but Questions Remain. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 100, 232-233,239.
[2] Christiansen, J.J. and Rajasekaran, A.K. (2006) Reassessing Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition as a Prerequisite for Carcinoma Invasion and Metastasis. Cancer Research, 66, 8319-8326.
[3] Tarin, D., Thompson, E.W. and Newgreen, D.F. (2005) The Fallacy of Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition in Neoplasia. Cancer Research, 65, 5996-6000.
[4] Ledford, H. (2011) Cancer Theory Faces Doubts. Nature, 472, 273.
[5] Lou, Y., Preobrazhenska, O., auf dem Keller, U., Sutcliffe, M., Barclay, L., McDonald, P.C., Roskelley, C., Overall, C.M. and Dedhar, S. (2008) Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) Is Not Sufficient for Spontaneous Murine Breast Cancer Metastasis. Developmental Dynamics, 237, 2755-2768.
[6] Gilles, C. and Thompson, E.W. (1996) The Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition and Metastatic Progression in Carcinoma. The Breast Journal, 2, 83-96.
[7] Economopoulou, P., Hanby, A. and Odell, E.W. (2000) Expression of E-Cadherin, Cellular Differentiation and Polarity in Epithelial Salivary Neoplasms. Oral Oncology, 36, 515-518.
[8] Gabbert, H.E., Mueller, W., Schneiders, A., Meier, S., Moll, R., Birchmeier, W. and Hommel, G. (1996) Prognostic Value of E-Cadherin Expression in 413 Gastric Carcinomas. International Journal of Cancer, 69, 184-189.<184::AID-IJC6>3.0.CO;2-W
[9] Christiansen, J.J., Rajasekaran, S.A., Inge, L., Cheng, L., Anilkumar, G., Bander, N.H. and Rajasekaran, A.K. (2005) N-Glycosylation and Microtubule Integrity Are Involved in Apical Targeting of Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen: Implications for Immunotherapy. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 4, 704-714.
[10] Ng, W.K. (2002) Fine-Needle Aspiration Cytology Findings of an Uncommon Micropapillary Variant of Pure Mucinous Carcinoma of the Breast: Review of Patients over an 8-Year Period. Cancer, 96, 280-288.
[11] Thompson, E.W., Newgreen, D.F. and Tarin, D. (2005) Carcinoma Invasion and Metastasis: A Role for Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition? Cancer Research, 65, 991-995.
[12] Erickson, C.A., Tosney, K.W. and Weston, J.A. (1980) Analysis of Migratory Behavior of Neural Crest and Fibroblastic Cells in Embryonic Tissues. Developmental Biology, 77, 142-156.
[13] Kalluri, R. and Neilson, E.G. (2003) Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition and Its Implications for Fibrosis. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 112, 1776-1784.
[14] Tan, D.S., Potts, H.W., Leong, A.C., Gillett, C.E., Skilton, D., Harris, W.H., Liebmann, R.D. and Hanby, A.M. (1999) The Biological and Prognostic Significance of Cell Polarity and E-Cadherin in Grade I Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma of the Breast. The Journal of Pathology, 189, 20-27.<20::AID-PATH394>3.0.CO;2-2
[15] Parker, C., Rampaul, R.S., Pinder, S.E., Bell, J.A., Wencyk, P.M., Blamey, R.W., Nicholson, R.I. and Robertson, J.F. (2001) E-Cadherin as a Prognostic Indicator in Primary Breast Cancer. British Journal of Cancer, 85, 1958-1963.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.