Non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) is one of the two principal damage repair pathways for DNA double-strand breaks in cells. In this review, we give a brief overview of the system including a discussion of the effects of deregulation of NHEJ components in carcinogenesis and resistance to cancer therapy. We then discuss the relevance of targeting NHEJ components pharmacologically as a potential cancer therapy and review previous approaches to orthosteric regulation of NHEJ factors. Given the limited success of previous investigations to develop inhibitors against individual components, we give a brief discussion of the recent advances in computational and structural biology that allow us to explore different targets, with a particular focus on modulating protein-protein interaction interfaces. We illustrate this discussion with three examples showcasing some current approaches to developing protein-protein interaction inhibitors to modulate the assembly of NHEJ multiprotein complexes in space and time. © 2020 The Author(s).