Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is one of the adult stem cells, which is derived from mesoderm tissues. MSCs are widely distributed in tissues and organs, and can be isolated from bone marrow, fat, dental pulp, umbilical cord/placenta and other tissues. MSCs have high potential for proliferation and differentiation, low immunogenicity and a tendency to the microenvironment of inflammatory injury sites. MSCs hold clinical promise for the treatment of many diseases. Cancer is considered as a wound that can never be healed, and its tissue microenvironment changes endlessly during injury and repair, in which mesenchymal stem cells play an important role. Using the characteristics of mesenchymal stem cells to home and locate tumor tissue, genetic modification of MSCs with antitumor drug may be a new strategy in the treatment of cancer. This paper summarizes the role of mesenchymal stem cells in the occurrence and development of cancer and the research progress of gene modified mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of cancer, in order to provide strategies and insights for the clinical use of gene modified mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of cancer.