Metastasis is a multistep process including dissociation of cancer cells from primary sites, survival in the vascular system, and proliferation in distant target organs. As a barrier to metastasis, cells normally undergo an apoptotic process known as "anoikis," a form of cell death due to loss of contact with the extracellular matrix or neighboring cells. Cancer cells acquire anoikis resistance to survive after detachment from the primary sites and travel through the circulatory and lymphatic systems to disseminate throughout the body. Because recent technological advances enable us to detect rare circulating tumor cells, which are anoikis resistant, currently, anoikis resistance becomes a hot topic in cancer research. Detailed molecular and functional analyses of anoikis resistant cells may provide insight into the biology of cancer metastasis and identify novel therapeutic targets for prevention of cancer dissemination. This paper comprehensively describes recent investigations of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying anoikis and anoikis resistance in relation to intrinsic and extrinsic death signaling, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, growth factor receptors, energy metabolism, reactive oxygen species, membrane microdomains, and lipid rafts.