Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a process during which cells lose their epithelial characteristics, for instance apical-basal cell polarity and cell-cell contact, and gain mesenchymal properties, such as increased motility. In colorectal cancer, EMT has an important role in tumour progression, metastasis, and drug resistance. There has been accumulating evidence from preclinical and early clinical studies that show that EMT markers might serve as outcome predictors and potential therapeutic targets in colorectal cancer. This Review describes the fundamentals of EMT, including biology, newly partial EMT, and associated changes. We also provide a comprehensive summary of therapeutic compounds capable of targeting EMT markers, including drugs in preclinical and clinical trials and those with repurpose potential. Lastly, we explore the obstacles of EMT bench-to-bedside drug development.

Original publication




Journal article


Lancet Oncol

Publication Date





e358 - e368


Animals, Antineoplastic Agents, Colorectal Neoplasms, Drug Discovery, Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition, Humans