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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2011, Article ID 591427, 7 pages
Review Article

Cooperation of Cancer Stem Cell Properties and Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in the Establishment of Breast Cancer Metastasis

1Department of Surgery, Keio University School of Medicine, 35 Shinanomachi, Shinjyuku, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan
2Department of Surgery, International University of Health and Welfare, 1-4-3 Mita, Minatoku, Tokyo 108-8329, Japan

Received 1 September 2010; Revised 9 November 2010; Accepted 2 December 2010

Academic Editor: Aurelio Lorico

Copyright © 2011 Tetsu Hayashida et al. 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.


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.