Farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs) target and inhibit the peptide prenylating enzyme farnesyltransferase. This new class of signal transduction inhibitors is being tested clinically in diverse malignancies, with encouraging results in hematololgic malignancies and breast cancer in particuarl. Critical questions have yet to be answered, for example, optimal dose and schedule, disease subgroups most likely to respond, and appropriate combinations with standard cytotoxics and new biologics. Gene profiling studies of malignant target cells obtained during FTI clinical trials will help to identify patients who are likely to respond to FTIs and to develop mechanisms for overcoming FTI resistance. Clinical trials and correlative laboratory studies in progress and under development will define the optimal roles of FTIs in cancer patients.