Epithelial-mesenchymal transition:A new target in anticancer drug discovery

Fabrizio Marcucci, Giorgio Stassi, Ruggero De Maria Marchiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

199 Citations (Scopus)


The conversion of cells with an epithelial phenotype into cells with a mesenchymal phenotype, referred to as epithelial-mesenchymal transition, is a critical process for embryonic development that also occurs in adult life, particularly during tumour progression. Tumour cells undergoing epithelial-mesenchymal transition acquire the capacity to disarm the body's antitumour defences, resist apoptosis and anticancer drugs, disseminate throughout the organism, and act as a reservoir that replenishes and expands the tumour cell population. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition is therefore becoming a target of prime interest for anticancer therapy. Here, we discuss the screening and classification of compounds that affect epithelial-mesenchymal transition, highlight some compounds of particular interest, and address issues related to their clinical application.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-325
Number of pages15
JournalNature Reviews Drug Discovery
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drug Discovery
  • Drug Discovery3003 Pharmaceutical Science
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms
  • Pharmacology


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