[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulatory networks orchestrated by key transcription factors (TFs) have been proposed to play a central role in the determination of stem cell states. However, the master transcriptional regulators of adult stem cells are poorly understood. We have identified two TFs, Slug and Sox9, that act cooperatively to determine the mammary stem cell (MaSC) state. Inhibition of either Slug or Sox9 blocks MaSC activity in primary mammary epithelial cells. Conversely, transient coexpression of exogenous Slug and Sox9 suffices to convert differentiated luminal cells into MaSCs with long-term mammary gland-reconstituting ability. Slug and Sox9 induce MaSCs by activating distinct autoregulatory gene expression programs. We also show that coexpression of Slug and Sox9 promotes the tumorigenic and metastasis-seeding abilities of human breast cancer cells and is associated with poor patient survival, providing direct evidence that human breast cancer stem cells are controlled by key regulators similar to those operating in normal murine MaSCs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a developmental program implicated in cancer progression and was the subject of the 2010 AACR meeting on the topic of EMT and Cancer Progression and Treatment held on February 28 to March 2 in Arlington, Virginia. A review of the involvement of EMT in gastrulation, organogenesis, carcinogenesis, and metastatic progression elucidated the overlap of EMT in these physiologic and pathologic conditions. Both novel and traditional markers of cells undergoing EMT were discussed and compared with features used to define cancer stem cells. Importantly, these defining characteristics of cells undergoing EMT were discussed in the context of therapeutic and prognostic developments.