Direct Evidence for Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transitions in Breast Cancer

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We developed stromal- and epithelial-specific cre-transgenic mice to directly visualize epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) during cancer progression in vivo. Using three different oncogene-driven mouse mammary tumor models and cell-fate mapping strategies, we show in vivo evidence for the existence of EMT in breast cancer and show that myc can specifically elicit this process. Hierarchical cluster analysis of genome-wide loss of heterozygosity reveals that the incidence of EMT in invasive human breast carcinomas is rare, but when it occurs it is associated with the amplification of MYC. These data provide the first direct evidence for EMT in breast cancer and suggest that its development is favored by myc-initiated events.