Fibroblast growth factors and their signaling receptors have been associated with multiple biological activities, including proliferation, differentiation and motility. Consequently, they have evoked interest as candidate oncogenes with the potential to initiate and/or promote tumorigenesis. This has resulted in a large literature describing the presence of these growth factors and their receptors in cancer cell lines and primary tumors of diverse origin. However, it is only recently that compelling evidence has emerged to implicate the fibroblast growth factors (Fgfs) and their receptors in the genesis of human cancers. Here, we outline the model systems that demonstrate the potential oncogenic nature of Fgf signaling and summarise recent evidence that implicates aberrant Fgf signaling as important in the natural history of some common human cancers.