Dependence receptors (DRs) now form a family of more than a dozen membrane receptors that are not linked by their structure, but by common functional traits. The most notable is their ability to trigger two opposite signaling pathways: in the presence of ligand, these receptors activate classic signaling pathways implicated in cell survival, migration and differentiation. In the absence of ligand, they do not stay inactive, rather they elicit an apoptotic signal. Thus, cells expressing this kind of receptor are dependent on the presence of ligand in the extracellular environment to survive. This review will recapitulate the increasing data regarding the molecular mechanisms associated with DRs, their potential implication during development, as well as their deregulation during tumorigenesis and, finally, their emergence as new possible therapeutic targets for cancer treatment.