, Volume 29, Issue 7, pp 707-727

Overlapping biomarkers, pathways, processes and syndromes in lymphatic development, growth and neoplasia

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Recent discoveries in molecular lymphology, developmental biology, and tumor biology in the context of long-standing concepts and observations on development, growth, and neoplasia implicate overlapping pathways, processes, and clinical manifestations in developmental disorders and cancer metastasis. Highlighted in this review are some of what is known (and speculated) about the genes, proteins, and signaling pathways and processes involved in lymphatic/blood vascular development in comparison to those involved in cancer progression and spread. Clues and conundra from clinical disorders that mix these processes and mute them, including embryonic rests, multicentric nests of displaced cells, uncontrolled/invasive “benign” proliferation and lymphogenous/hematogenous “spread”, represent a fine line between normal development and growth, dysplasia, benign and malignant neoplasia, and “metastasis”. Improved understanding of these normal and pathologic processes and their underlying pathomechanisms, e.g., stem cell origin and bidirectional epithelial-mesenchymal transition, could lead to more successful approaches in classification, treatment, and even prevention of cancer and a whole host of other diseases.