SOX factors as cell-state regulators in the mammary gland and breast cancer

Yu Liu, Wenjun Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Emerging evidence has shown that several SOX family transcription factors are key regulators of stem/progenitor cell fates in the mammary gland. These cell-fate regulators are often upregulated in breast cancer and contribute to tumor initiation and progression. They induce lineage plasticity and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, which promotes tumor invasion, metastasis, and therapeutic resistance. SOX factors act through modulating multiple oncogenic signaling pathways in breast cancer. In addition to the cell-autonomous functions, new evidence suggests they can shape the tumor immune microenvironment. Here, we will review the molecular and functional evidence linking SOX factors with mammary gland development and discuss how these cell-fate regulators are co-opted in breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Breast cancer
  • Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
  • Lineage plasticity
  • Mammary gland development
  • SOX transcription factors
  • Tumor immune microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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