The cure of cancer is still a formidable challenge in medical science. Long-known modalities including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are successful in a number of cases; however, invasive, metastasized and inaccessible tumors still pose an unresolved and ongoing problem. Targeted therapies designed to locate, detect and specifically kill tumor cells have been developed in the past three decades as an alternative to treat troublesome cancers. Most of these therapies are either based on antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, targeted delivery of cytotoxic drugs or tumor sitespecific activation of prodrugs. The latter is a two-step procedure. In the first step, a selected enzyme is accumulated in the tumor by guiding the enzyme or its gene to the neoplastic cells. In the second step, a harmless prodrug is applied and specifically converted by this enzyme into a cytotoxic drug only at the tumor site. A number of targeting systems, enzymes and prodrugs were investigated and improved since the concept was first envisioned in 1974. This review presents a concise overview of the history and latest developments in targeted therapies for cancer treatment. We cover the relevant technologies such as antibody-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (ADEPT), gene-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (GDEPT) as well as related therapies such as clostridial- (CDEPT) and polymer-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (PDEPT) with emphasis on prodrug-converting enzymes, prodrugs and drugs.