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Identification of the tumour transition states occurring during EMT.

Nature (2018-04-20)
Ievgenia Pastushenko, Audrey Brisebarre, Alejandro Sifrim, Marco Fioramonti, Tatiana Revenco, Soufiane Boumahdi, Alexandra Van Keymeulen, Daniel Brown, Virginie Moers, Sophie Lemaire, Sarah De Clercq, Esmeralda Minguijón, Cédric Balsat, Youri Sokolow, Christine Dubois, Florian De Cock, Samuel Scozzaro, Federico Sopena, Angel Lanas, Nicky D'Haene, Isabelle Salmon, Jean-Christophe Marine, Thierry Voet, Panagiota A Sotiropoulou, Cédric Blanpain
ABSTRACT

In cancer, the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is associated with tumour stemness, metastasis and resistance to therapy. It has recently been proposed that, rather than being a binary process, EMT occurs through distinct intermediate states. However, there is no direct in vivo evidence for this idea. Here we screen a large panel of cell surface markers in skin and mammary primary tumours, and identify the existence of multiple tumour subpopulations associated with different EMT stages: from epithelial to completely mesenchymal states, passing through intermediate hybrid states. Although all EMT subpopulations presented similar tumour-propagating cell capacity, they displayed differences in cellular plasticity, invasiveness and metastatic potential. Their transcriptional and epigenetic landscapes identify the underlying gene regulatory networks, transcription factors and signalling pathways that control these different EMT transition states. Finally, these tumour subpopulations are localized in different niches that differentially regulate EMT transition states.

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