Send to

Choose Destination
Discov Med. 2011 Oct;12(65):329-40.

Cell lineage specification in tumor progression and metastasis.

Author information

Brady Memorial Laboratory, Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Cancer has long been compared to the aberrant development of human tissues. It was in the mid-19th century writings of Rudolf Virchow and Joseph Recamier that malignant tissue was first proposed to originate from embryonal cells. More contemporary perspectives on malignant progression are founded on the tenant that tumors emerge from somatic tissues. Yet examples linking the biological properties of cancer to developmental processes, both aberrant and normal, abound. In this review, we will discuss how the developmental lineage of tumor cells can influence the course of cancer metastasis. As new molecular mechanisms that control cell fate in various tissues are being rapidly uncovered, understanding how these well orchestrated programs can be subverted in human diseases should provide intriguing avenues for fundamental biological discoveries and new therapeutic opportunities in cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center