One of the central aims of cancer research is to identify and characterize cancer-causing alterations in cancer genomes. In recent years, unprecedented advances in genome-wide sequencing, functional genomics technologies for RNA interference screens and methods for evaluating three-dimensional chromatin organization in vivo have resulted in important discoveries regarding human cancer. The cancer-causing genes identified from these new genome-wide technologies have also provided opportunities for effective and personalized cancer therapy. In this review, we describe some of the most recent technologies for cancer gene discovery. We also provide specific examples in which these technologies have proven remarkably successful in uncovering important cancer-causing alterations. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.