Hepatocyte growth factor plays multiple roles in cancer, by acting as a motility and invasion stimulating factor, promoting metastasis and tumour growth. Furthermore, it acts as a powerful angiogenic factor. The pivotal role of this factor in cancer has indicated HGF as being a potential target in cancer therapies. The past few years have seen rapid progress in developing tools in targeting HGF, in the context of cancer therapies, including development of antagonists, small compounds, antibodies and genetic approaches. The current article discusses the potential value of HGF and its receptor as targets in cancer therapies, the current development in anti-HGF research, and the clinical value of HGF in prognosis and treatment.