Epidemiological studies suggest that individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) are more prone to develop certain types of cancer. Notably, however, the case statistics can be impacted by late discovery of cancer in individuals afflicted with NDDs, such as intellectual disorders, autism, and schizophrenia, which may bias the numbers. As to NDD-associated mutations, in most cases, they are germline while cancer mutations are sporadic, emerging during life. However, somatic mosaicism can spur NDDs, and cancer-related mutations can be germline. NDDs and cancer share proteins, pathways, and mutations. Here we ask (i) exactly which features they share, and (ii) how, despite their commonalities, they differ in clinical outcomes. To tackle these questions, we employed a statistical framework followed by network analysis. Our thorough exploration of the mutations, reconstructed disease-specific networks, pathways, and transcriptome levels and profiles of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and cancers, point to signaling strength as the key factor: strong signaling promotes cell proliferation in cancer, and weaker (moderate) signaling impacts differentiation in ASD. Thus, we suggest that signaling strength, not activating mutations, can decide clinical outcome.