Inter-individual variability in drug response and the emergence of adverse drug reactions are main causes of treatment failure in cancer therapy. Recently, membrane transporters have been recognized as an important determinant of drug disposition, thereby affecting chemosensitivity and -resistance. Genetic factors contribute to inter-individual variability in drug transport and targeting. Therefore, pharmacogenetic studies of membrane transporters can lead to new approaches for optimizing cancer therapy. This review discusses genetic variations in efflux transporters of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) family such as ABCB1 (MDR1, P-glycoprotein), ABCC1 (MRP1), ABCC2 (MRP2) and ABCG2 (BCRP), and uptake transporters of the solute carrier (SLC) family such as SLC19A1 (RFC1) and SLCO1B1 (SLC21A6), and their relevance to cancer chemotherapy. Furthermore, a pharmacogenomic approach is outlined, which using correlations between the growth inhibitory potency of anticancer drugs and transporter gene expression in multiple human cancer cell lines, has shown promise for determining the relevant transporters for any given drugs and predicting anticancer drug response.