Cancer is a complex disease with acquired genomic and epigenomic alterations that affect cell proliferation, viability and invasiveness. Almost all the epigenetic mechanisms including cytosine methylation and hydroxymethylation, chromatin remodeling and non-coding RNAs have been found associate with carcinogenesis and cancer specific expression profile. Altered histone modification as an epigenetic hallmark is frequently found in tumors. Understanding the epigenetic alterations induced by carcinogens or infectious agents may help us understand early epigenetic changes prior to the development of cancer. In this review, we focus on chromatin remodeling and the associated histone modifiers in the development of cancer; the application of these modifiers as a cancer therapy target in different clinical trial phases is also discussed.