Cancer cells have an increased demand for energy sources to support accelerated rates of growth. When nutrients become limiting, cancer cells may switch to nonconventional energy sources that are mobilized through nutrient scavenging pathways involving autophagy and the lysosome. Thus, several cancers are highly reliant on constitutive activation of these pathways to degrade and recycle cellular materials. Here, we focus on the MiT/TFE family of transcription factors, which control transcriptional programs for autophagy and lysosome biogenesis and have emerged as regulators of energy metabolism in cancer. These new findings complement earlier reports that chromosomal translocations and amplifications involving the MiT/TFE genes contribute to the etiology and pathophysiology of renal cell carcinoma, melanoma, and sarcoma, suggesting pleiotropic roles for these factors in a wider array of cancers. Understanding the interplay between the oncogenic and stress-adaptive roles of MiT/TFE factors could shed light on fundamental mechanisms of cellular homeostasis and point to new strategies for cancer treatment.