There has been a recent upsurge in the development of small-molecule inhibitors specific to DNA repair proteins or proteins peripherally involved in base excision repair and the DNA damage response. These specific, nominally toxic inhibitors are able to potentiate the effect of existing cancer cell treatments in a wide array of cancers. One of the largest obstacles to overcome in the treatment of cancer is incomplete killing with initial cancer treatments, leading to resistant cancer. The progression of our understanding of cancer and normal cell responses to DNA damage has allowed us to develop biomarkers that we can use to help us predict responses of cancers, more specifically target cancer cells and overcome resistance. Initial successes using these small-molecule DNA repair inhibitors in target-validation experiments and in the early stages of clinical trials indicate an important role for these inhibitors, and allow for the possibility of a future in which cancers are potentially treated in a highly specific, individual manner.