The blood vasculature in cancers has been the subject of intense interest during the past four decades. Since the original ideas of targeting angiogenesis to treat cancer were proposed in the 1970s, it has become evident that more knowledge about the role of vessels in tumor biology is needed to fully take advantage of such strategies. The vasculature serves the surrounding tissue in a multitude of ways that all must be taken into consideration in therapeutic manipulation. Aspects of delivery of conventional cytostatic drugs, induction of hypoxia affecting treatment by radiotherapy, changes in tumor cell metabolism, vascular leak and trafficking of leukocytes are affected by interventions on vascular function. Many tumors constitute a highly interchangeable milieu undergoing proliferation, apoptosis, and necrosis with abundance of growth factors, enzymes and metabolites. These aspects are reflected by the abnormal tortuous, leaky vascular bed with detached mural cells (pericytes). The vascular bed of tumors is known to be unstable and undergoing remodeling, but it is not until recently that this has been dynamically demonstrated at high resolution, facilitated by technical advances in intravital microscopy. In this review we discuss developmental genetic loss-of-function experiments in the light of tumor angiogenesis. We find this a valid comparison since many studies phenocopy the vasculature in development and tumors.