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.
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