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Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:2646148. doi: 10.1155/2017/2646148. Epub 2017 Dec 12.

Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Pancreatic Cancer: A Review.

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Institute of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Diseases, School of Medicine, Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, China.


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most aggressive solid malignancies and is characterized by its insensitivity to current therapy. The invasion and metastasis of solid tumors such as PDAC are complex processes involving many factors. Recent insights into the role of cancer stem cells (CSCs) and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in tumorigenesis have increased the knowledge base and highlighted new therapeutic targets of this disease. The process of EMT is regulated by a complex network of cytokines, transcription factors, growth factors, signaling pathways, and the tumor microenvironment, exhibiting CSC-like properties. The transition of solid cancer cells from an epithelial to a mesenchymal phenotype increases their migratory and invasive properties, thus promoting metastasis. In PDAC, the exact influence of EMT on the biological behaviors of cancer cells and its impact on clinical therapy remain controversial, but the therapeutic strategy of combining EMT inhibition with chemotherapy deserves attention. Alternatively, anti-inflammatory therapy that targets the interaction between inflammation and EMT is a valid strategy for treating the premalignant stage of tumor progression. In this review, we summarize the latest research on EMT and the potential relationship between EMT and PDAC.

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