Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been linked to cancer progression and metastatic propensity. The 4T1 tumor is a clinically relevant model of spontaneous breast cancer metastasis. Here we characterize 4T1-derived cell lines for EMT, in vitro invasiveness and in vivo metastatic ability. Contrary to expectations, the 67NR cells, which form primary tumors but fail to metastasize, express vimentin and N-cadherin, but not E-cadherin. 4T1 cells, however, express E-cadherin, are highly migratory and invasive, and metastasize to multiple sites. The 66cl4 metastatic cells display mixed epithelial and mesenchymal markers, but are less migratory and invasive than 67NR cells. These findings demonstrate that the metastatic ability of breast cancer cells does not correlate with genotypic and phenotypic properties of EMT per se, and suggest that other processes may govern metastatic capability. Gene expression analysis also has not identified differences in EMT markers, but has identified several candidate genes that may influence metastatic ability.