Development of Cancer Vaccines Targeting Brachyury, a Transcription Factor Associated with Tumor Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition

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Abstract

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is recognized as a relevant process during the progression of carcinomas towards metastatic disease. Epithelial cancer cells undergoing an EMT program may acquire mesenchymal features, motility, invasiveness, and resistance to a variety of anticancer therapeutics. Preventing or reverting the EMT process in carcinomas has the potential to minimize tumor dissemination and the emergence of therapeutic resistance. One of the strategies currently under investigation to target tumor cells undergoing EMT is the generation of a sustained immune response directed against an essential molecular driver of the process. This review focuses on the current development of immune-mediated anticancer interventions aimed at targeting a transcription factor, brachyury, associated with human tumor EMT. Also presented here is a summary of recent studies demonstrating a role for EMT in tumor resistance to immune effector cytotoxicity, and the study of novel strategies aimed at reverting the EMT to be used in combination with immune-mediated anticancer interventions.

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