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The underappreciated role of epithelial mesenchymal transition in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and its strong link to lung cancer


Mahmood, MQ and Shukla, SD and Ward, C and Walters, EH, The underappreciated role of epithelial mesenchymal transition in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and its strong link to lung cancer, Biomolecules, 11, (9) pp. 1-15. ISSN 2218-273X (2021) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://

DOI: doi:10.3390/biom11091394


The World Health Organisation reported COPD to be the third leading cause of death globally in 2019, and in 2020, the most common cause of cancer death was lung cancer; when these linked conditions are added together they come near the top of the leading causes of mortality. The cell-biological program termed epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays an important role in organ development, fibrosis and cancer progression. Over the past decade there has emerged a substantial literature that also links EMT specifically to the pathophysiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as primarily an airway fibrosis disease; COPD is a recognised strong independent risk factor for the development of lung cancer, over and above the risks associated with smoking. In this review, our primary focus is to highlight these linkages and alert both the COPD and lung cancer fields to these complex interactions. We emphasise the need for inter-disciplinary attention and research focused on the likely crucial roles of EMT (and potential for its inhibition) with recognition of its strategic place mechanistically in both COPD and lung cancer. As part of this we discuss the future potential directions for novel therapeutic opportunities, including evidence-based strategic repurposing of currently used familiar/approved medications.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:hronic obstructive pulmonary disease; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; lung cancer; therapy
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Cardiovascular medicine and haematology
Research Field:Respiratory diseases
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions
UTAS Author:Walters, EH (Professor Haydn Walters)
ID Code:151718
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2022-08-03
Last Modified:2022-09-05
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