Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are a specialized subset of CD4 T cells that have an indispensable role in maintaining immune homeostasis and tolerance. Although studies in mice and humans have clearly highlighted that the absence of these cells results in severe autoimmunity and inflammation, increased Treg numbers and/or function is not always beneficial. This is best exemplified in certain cancers where increased Tregs promote cancer progression by interfering with immune surveillance. Conversely, in other types of cancers that have an inflammatory component, Tregs can inhibit cancer progression by dampening inflammation. In this review article, we provide a historical perspective of the discovery of Tregs, followed by a summary of the existing literature on the role of Tregs in malignancy.