Epithelial-mesenchymal transition is predetermined by the epigenetic state of the skin tumor cell of origin
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) signaling has been shown to promote malignancy in epithelial tumors. EMT-targeted therapies may provide new approaches to cancer treatment, hence, understanding the EMT-induction mechanisms is very important. Various types of epithelial cell-derived tumors have different tendencies to induce EMT. Some tumor cells highly express EMT-related genes showing EMT-phenotypes, but other tumor cells express EMT-related genes at a very low level. The factors governing tumor cells, such the EMT-tendency, are largely unknown. Latil and colleagues used skin squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) mouse models which enabled tracing the cell linage and then they performed chromatin sequencing. They showed that the cell-type-specific chromatin and transcriptional states of cell-of-origin of the tumor affect the EMT-phenotype in primary tumors. Epigenetic properties, including chromatin status and transcriptional profiling, in the SCCs-initiating cells seem to predetermine the EMT-tendency and tumor initiation.