Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2015 Mar;244(3):311-22.
doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24226. Epub 2014 Nov 26.

Tumors of the Neural Crest: Common Themes in Development and Cancer

Free article

Tumors of the Neural Crest: Common Themes in Development and Cancer

Lillias H Maguire et al. Dev Dyn. .
Free article


The neural crest (NC) is a remarkable transient structure in the vertebrate embryo that gives rise to a highly versatile population of pluripotent cells that contribute to the formation of multiple tissues and organs throughout the body. In order to achieve their task, NC-derived cells have developed specialized mechanisms to promote (1) their transition from an epithelial to a mesenchymal phenotype, (2) their capacity for extensive migration and cell proliferation, and (3) their ability to produce diverse cell types largely depending on the microenvironment encountered during and after their migratory path. Following embryogenesis, these same features of cellular motility, invasion, and proliferation can become a liability by contributing to tumorigenesis and metastasis. Ample evidence has shown that cancer cells have cleverly co-opted many of the genetic and molecular features used by developing NC cells. This review focuses on tumors that arise from NC-derived tissues and examines mechanistic themes shared during their oncogenic and metastatic development with embryonic NC cell ontogeny.

Keywords: epithelial mesenchymal transition; neural crest cells; neural crest-derived tumors; neurocristopathies.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 22 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Supplementary concepts

LinkOut - more resources