DNA methylation is a major epigenetic modification that is strongly involved in the physiological control of genome expression. DNA methylation patterns are largely modified in cancer cells and can therefore be used to distinguish cancer cells from normal tissues. This review describes the main technologies available for the detection and the discovery of aberrantly methylated DNA patterns. It also presents the different sources of biological samples suitable for DNA methylation studies. We discuss the interest and perspectives on the use of DNA methylation measurements for cancer diagnosis through examples of methylated genes commonly documented in the literature. The discussion leads to our consideration for why DNA methylation is not commonly used in clinical practice through an examination of the main requirements that constitute a reliable biomarker. Finally, we describe the main DNA methylation inhibitors currently used in clinical trials and those that exhibit promising results.