ABCG2 is a member of the ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporters, which can pump a wide variety of endogenous and exogenous compounds out of cells. Widely expressed in stem cells, ABCG2 is also found to confer the side population phenotype and is recognized as a universal marker of stem cells. Although the precise physiological role of ABCG2 in stem cells is still unclear, existing data strongly suggest that ABCG2 plays an important role in promoting stem cell proliferation and the maintenance of the stem cell phenotype. In addition, ABCG2 is also found to be expressed in a number of cancer cells and appears to be a marker of cancer stem cells. Moreover, ABCG2 expression in tumors may contribute to their formation and progression. Thus, ABCG2 has potential applications in stem cell and tumor therapy.