Cellular migration and invasion uncoupled: increased migration is not an inexorable consequence of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.


Journal Article

Metastatic dissemination requires carcinoma cells to detach from the primary tumor and invade through the basement membrane. To acquire these characteristics, epithelial tumor cells undergo epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions (EMT), whereby cells lose polarity and E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion. Post-EMT cells have also been shown, or assumed, to be more migratory; however, there have been contradictory reports on an immortalized human mammary epithelial cell line (HMLE) that underwent EMT. In the context of carcinoma-associated EMT, it is not yet clear whether the change in migration and invasion must be positively correlated during EMT or whether enhanced migration is a necessary consequence of having undergone EMT. Here, we report that pre-EMT rat prostate cancer (PC) and HMLE cells are more migratory than their post-EMT counterparts. To determine a mechanism for increased epithelial cell migration, gene expression analysis was performed and revealed an increase in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression in pre-EMT cells. Indeed, inhibition of EGFR in PC epithelial cells slowed migration. Importantly, while post-EMT PC and HMLE cell lines are less migratory, both remain invasive in vitro and, for PC cells, in vivo. Our study demonstrates that enhanced migration is not a phenotypic requirement of EMT, and migration and invasion can be uncoupled during carcinoma-associated EMT.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Schaeffer, D; Somarelli, JA; Hanna, G; Palmer, GM; Garcia-Blanco, MA

Published Date

  • September 15, 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 34 / 18

Start / End Page

  • 3486 - 3499

PubMed ID

  • 25002532

Pubmed Central ID

  • 25002532

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1098-5549

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1128/MCB.00694-14


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States