Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is a cytoplasmic transcription factor that regulates cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, inflammation and immune responses. Aberrant STAT3 activation triggers tumor progression through oncogenic gene expression in numerous human cancers, leading to promote tumor malignancy. On the contrary, STAT3 activation in immune cells cause elevation of immunosuppressive factors. Accumulating evidence suggests that the tumor microenvironment closely interacts with the STAT3 signaling pathway. So, targeting STAT3 may improve tumor progression, and anti-cancer immune response. In this review, we summarized the role of STAT3 in cancer and the tumor microenvironment, and present inhibitors of STAT3 signaling cascades. [BMB Reports 2019; 52(7): 415-423].