Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARP) are a family of enzymes that play a very important role in preserving the integrity of the genome. Recently, PARP inhibitors have been shown to enhance the therapeutic ratio in cancer patients due to their specific targeting of homologous recombination repair-defective tumors, through a synthetic lethal interaction. Researchers are also presently investigating novel strategies for the treatment of sporadic cancers by combining PARP inhibitors with other DNA-damaging agents. This review will focus on recently patented PARP inhibitors and literature that supports the reported claims presented in these patents. The patents reviewed were categorized into two groups: PARP inhibitors as a single-agent or in combination with other agents for the treatment of various types of cancer. These compounds are currently in clinical trials and, if successful, can greatly impact therapeutic index in cancer therapy. © 2013 Future Science Ltd.