The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key cellular event that plays a pivotal role in promoting metastatic disease and tumor recurrence among solid malignancies. EMT is involved not only in essential cellular processes, including embryonic development and tissue remodeling, but also in inducing tumorigenesis. Breast cancer (BC) is the most prevalent cancer in women globally, and the main causes of breast cancer mortality are metastasis and recurrence. EMT plays an imperative role in enhancing invasion, following metastasis. Integrated changes in several cell signaling events lead to an epithelial to mesenchymal phenotypic shift and provide cells with more migratory and invasive properties that eventually results in metastatic colonization at a secondary site. However, the present knowledge about the cross-talk of multi-faceted signaling pathways and associated crucial transcription factors is yet to be understood. Understanding the cellular complexities of EMT will provide valuable insights for the therapeutic targeting of aggressive breast cancers, and in the development of novel biomarkers to delimit malignancies with greater chances of metastasis and recurrence.
Keywords: Breast cancer, Biomarker, Cell signaling, Cancer stem cells, Circulating tumor cells, EMT, Invasion, Metastasis, Migration, Tumor growth.