Cellular stress responses are potent and dynamic, allowing cells to effectively counteract diverse stresses. These pathways are crucial not only for maintaining normal cellular homeostasis, but also for protecting cells from what would otherwise lead to their demise. A novel class of genes, termed miRNAs, has recently been implicated in the cellular stress response. For example, it has been demonstrated that a cardiac-specific miRNA that is not required for normal development is requisite for a normal cardiac stress response in mice. In addition, we have found that a miRNA family is able to modulate the cellular response to cytotoxic cancer treatment both in vitro and in vivo. In this review, we will discuss these and other important developments in the field. In particular, we will focus on studies that have linked miRNAs to the genotoxic stress response and will suggest how this connection may be both important for our understanding of biology and pertinent for the development of novel cancer therapies.