Three interrelated themes in current breast cancer research: gene addiction, phenotypic plasticity, and cancer stem cells.
- Author(s): Cardiff, Robert D
- Couto, Suzana
- Bolon, Brad
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1186/bcr2887
Recent efforts to understand breast cancer biology involve three interrelated themes that are founded on a combination of clinical and experimental observations. The central concept is gene addiction. The clinical dilemma is the escape from gene addiction, which is mediated, in part, by phenotypic plasticity as exemplified by epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition. Finally, cancer stem cells are now recognized as the basis for minimal residual disease and malignant progression over time. These themes cooperate in breast cancer, as induction of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition enhances self-renewal and expression of cancer stem cells, which are believed to facilitate tumor resistance.