SOX4: Joining the Master Regulators of Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition?


The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is an important developmental program exploited by cancer cells to gain mesenchymal features. Transcription factors globally regulating processes during EMT are often referred as 'master regulators' of EMT, and include members of the Snail and ZEB transcription factor families. The SRY-related HMG box (SOX)4 transcription factor can promote tumorigenesis by endowing cells with migratory and invasive properties, stemness, and resistance to apoptosis, thereby regulating key aspects of the EMT program. In this review recently published in Trends in Cancer, we argue that SOX4 should also be considered as a master regulator of EMT, and review the molecular mechanisms underlying its function.