Generation of Breast Cancer Stem Cells by the EMT
Final rept. 15 Sep 2008-14 Sep 2010
WHITEHEAD INST FOR BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH CAMBRIDGE MA
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The epithelial-mesenchymal transition plays an important role in the progression of benign human breast cancer cells into highly malignant carcinoma derivatives. Recently, we have found that in addition to promoting the invasive and motile phenotypes of cancer cells, the EMT also confers on cancer cells certain stem-cell properties. However, it remained unclear whether such EMT products are actually stem cells or only cells having many of the properties of stem cells. In this study, we provided evidence that the EMT indeed produces bona fide mammary stem cells, which are able to reconstitute entire mammary ductal trees in vivo. We also identified key EMT-associated transcription factors that act as master regulators of mammary stem cells. These factors are both sufficient in inducing mammary stem cells from non-stem cells and necessary for maintaining pre-existing stem cells.
- Medicine and Medical Research