Nucleoside diphosphate kinases (NDPK) are nucleotide metabolism enzymes encoded by NME genes (also called NM23). Given the fact that not all NME-encoded proteins are catalytically active NDPKs and that NM23 generally refers to clinical studies on metastasis, we use here NME/NDPK to denote the proteins. Since their discovery in the 1950's, NMEs/NDPKs have been shown to be involved in multiple physiological and pathological cellular processes, but the molecular mechanisms have not been fully determined. Recent progress in elucidating these underlying mechanisms has been presented by experts in the field at the 10th International Congress on the NDPK/NME/AWD protein family in October 2016 in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and is summarized in review articles or original research in this and an upcoming issue of Laboratory Investigation. Within this editorial, we discuss three major cellular processes that involve members of the multi-functional NME/NDPK family: (i) cancer and metastasis dissemination, (ii) membrane remodeling and nucleotide channeling, and iii) protein histidine phosphorylation.