Over the past two decades, elucidation of the genetic defects that underlie cancer has resulted in a plethora of novel targeted cancer drugs. Although these agents can initially be highly effective, resistance to single-agent therapies remains a major challenge. Combining drugs can help avoid resistance, but the number of possible drug combinations vastly exceeds what can be tested clinically, both financially and in terms of patient availability. Rational drug combinations based on a deep understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms associated with therapy resistance are potentially powerful in the treatment of cancer. Here, we discuss the mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies and how effective drug combinations can be identified to combat resistance. The challenges in clinically developing these combinations and future perspectives are considered.