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Dev Dyn. 2018 Mar;247(3):432-450. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24506. Epub 2017 May 26.

Epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity and circulating tumor cells: Travel companions to metastases.

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GIGA-Cancer, Laboratory of Tumor and Development Biology, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium.
Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and School of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, and Translational Research Institute Brisbane, and University of Melbourne Department of Surgery, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.
Inserm UMR-S 903, University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, Biopathology Laboratory, CHU of Reims, Reims, France.


Epithelial-mesenchymal transitions (EMTs) associated with metastatic progression may contribute to the generation of hybrid phenotypes capable of plasticity. This cellular plasticity would provide tumor cells with an increased potential to adapt to the different microenvironments encountered during metastatic spread. Understanding how EMT may functionally equip circulating tumor cells (CTCs) with an enhanced competence to survive in the bloodstream and niche in the colonized organs has thus become a major cancer research axis. We summarize here clinical data with CTC endpoints involving EMT. We then review the work functionally linking EMT programs to CTC biology and deciphering molecular EMT-driven mechanisms supporting their metastatic competence. Developmental Dynamics 247:432-450, 2018.


CTC; EMP; EMT; coagulation; early metastasis

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