Tracing the cellular origin of cancer

Nat Cell Biol. 2013 Feb;15(2):126-34. doi: 10.1038/ncb2657. Epub 2013 Jan 20.


Although many genes that lead to different types of cancer when mutated have been identified, the cells that initiate tumour formation following accumulation of these mutations have, until recently, remained elusive. This review explores how mouse genetic lineage-tracing experiments that allow the expression of oncogenes and/or the deletion of tumour suppressor genes in defined cell lineages have been instrumental in defining the cellular origin of different solid tumours in mouse models for various human cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage / genetics*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology
  • Oncogenes
  • Phenotype
  • Signal Transduction / genetics