Reversible protein ubiquitination is emerging as a key process for maintaining cell homeostasis, and the enzymes that participate in this process, in particular E3 ubiquitin ligases and deubiquitinases (DUBs), are increasingly being regarded as candidates for drug discovery. Human DUBs are a group of approximately 100 proteins, whose cellular functions and regulatory mechanisms remain, with some exceptions, poorly characterized. One of the best-characterized human DUBs is ubiquitin-specific protease 1 (USP1), which plays an important role in the cellular response to DNA damage. USP1 levels, localization and activity are modulated through several mechanisms, including protein-protein interactions, autocleavage/degradation and phosphorylation, ensuring that USP1 function is carried out in a properly regulated spatio-temporal manner. Importantly, USP1 expression is deregulated in certain types of human cancer, suggesting that USP1 could represent a valid target in cancer therapy. This view has gained recent support with the finding that USP1 inhibition may contribute to revert cisplatin resistance in an in vitro model of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here, we describe the current knowledge on the cellular functions and regulatory mechanisms of USP1. We also summarize USP1 alterations found in cancer, combining data from the literature and public databases with our own data. Finally, we discuss the emerging potential of USP1 as a target, integrating published data with our novel findings on the effects of the USP1 inhibitor pimozide in combination with cisplatin in NSCLC cells.