Tigecycline is a novel glycylcycline antibacterial drug, which shows both antibiotic function and anti-tumor activity. This review summarizes the single and combined use of tigecycline for tumor treatment and the underpinning mechanisms. As an inhibitor for mitochondrial DNA translation, tigecycline affects the proliferation, migration, and invasion of tumor cells mainly through inhibiting mitochondrial protein synthesis and inducing mitochondrial dysfunction. Although the effect of tigecycline monotherapy is controversial, the efficacy of combined use of tigecycline is satisfactory. Therefore, it is important to explore the molecular mechanisms underpinning the anti-tumor activity of tigecycline, with the aim to use it as a cheap and effective new anti-tumor drug.