The cyclic GMP‐AMP synthase (cGAS)–stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway mediates anti‐microbial innate immunity by inducing the production of type I interferons (IFNs) and inflammatory cytokines upon recognition of microbial DNA. Recent studies reveal that self‐DNA from tumors and by‐products of genomic instability also activates the cGAS–STING pathway and either promotes or inhibits tumor development. This has led to the development of cancer therapeutics using STING agonists alone and in combination with conventional cancer treatment or immune checkpoint targeting. On the other hand, for cancers lacking the cGAS–STING pathway and thus a regular innate immunity response, oncolytic virus therapy has been shown to have therapeutic potential. We here review and discuss the dichotomous roles of the cGAS–STING pathway in cancer development and therapeutic approaches.