Understanding the complexity of cancer depends on an elucidation of the underlying regulatory networks, at the cellular and intercellular levels and in their temporal dimension. This Opinion article focuses on the multilevel crosstalk between the Notch pathway and the p53 and p63 pathways. These two coordinated signalling modules are at the interface of external damaging signals and control of stem cell potential and differentiation. Positive or negative reciprocal regulation of the two pathways can vary with cell type and cancer stage. Therefore, selective or combined targeting of the two pathways could improve the efficacy and reduce the toxicity of cancer therapies.