With the advent of next generation sequencing methods and progress in transcriptome analysis, it became obvious that the human genome contains much more than just protein-coding genes. In fact, up to 70% of our genome is transcribed into RNA that does not serve as templates for proteins. In this review, we focus on the emerging roles of these long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in the field of tumor biology. Long ncRNAs were found to be deregulated in several human cancers and show tissue-specific expression. Functional studies revealed a broad spectrum of mechanisms applied by lncRNAs such as HOTAIR, MALAT1, ANRIL or lincRNA-p21 to fulfill their functions. Here, we link the cellular processes influenced by long ncRNAs to the hallmarks of cancer and therefore provide an ncRNA point-of-view on tumor biology. This should stimulate new research directions and therapeutic options considering long ncRNAs as novel prognostic markers and therapeutic targets.