An important role for the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) pathway in maintaining genomic stability is embodied in its conservation through evolution and the link between loss of MMR function and tumorigenesis. The latter is evident as inheritance of mutations within the major MMR genes give rise to the cancer predisposition condition, Lynch syndrome. Nonetheless, how MMR loss contributes to tumorigenesis is not completely understood. In addition to preventing the accumulation of mutations, MMR also directs cellular responses, such as cell cycle checkpoint or apoptosis activation, to different forms of DNA damage. Understanding this MMR-dependent DNA damage response may provide insight into the full tumor suppressing capabilities of the MMR pathway. Here, we delve into the proposed mechanisms for the MMR-dependent response to DNA damaging agents. We discuss how these pre-clinical findings extend to the clinical treatment of cancers, emphasizing MMR status as a crucial variable in selection of chemotherapeutic regimens. Also, we discuss how loss of the MMR-dependent damage response could promote tumorigenesis via the establishment of a survival advantage to endogenous levels of stress in MMR-deficient cells.