Intercellular communication between tumor cells, immune cells and the stroma characterises the tumor microenvironment, which is instrumental for establishing the ecological niche that fosters tumor growth and metastasis. While tumor cell intrinsic STAT3 signaling provides a crucial axis to support cell proliferation and survival, it also regulates many activities of the non-transformed cells that collectively make up the tumor microenvironment. Accordingly, excessive activation of STAT3 is a hallmark of many malignancies, and often occurs in response to cytokines of the IL-6 and IL-10 families. However, tumor extrinsic STAT3 signaling also regulates the effector function of tumor-associated immune and stromal cells, which support the growth of tumors by suppressing the host's anti-tumor immune response. Given that STAT3 mediates tumorigenic effects in many cell types, the molecular players of STAT3 signaling and its upstream JAK kinases provide viable therapeutic targets for the treatment of cancer. Here we provide an update on novel insights into the role of STAT3 in immune suppression and describe current therapeutic strategies that target the JAK/STAT3 signaling axis for the treatment of malignancies.