Inhibitor of Apoptosis (IAP) proteins are overexpressed in a variety of human cancers. Therefore, they are considered as promising targets for the design of therapeutic strategies. Smac mimetics mimic the endogenous mitochondrial protein Smac that antagonizes IAP proteins upon its release into the cytosol. Multiple preclinical studies have documented the ability of Smac mimetics to either directly induce cell death of cancer cells or to prime them to agents that trigger cell death. At present, several Smac mimetics are being evaluated in early clinical trials. The current review provides an overview on the potential of Smac mimetics as cancer therapeutics to target IAP proteins for cancer therapy.