Molecularly targeted therapies are rapidly growing with respect to their clinical development and impact on cancer treatment due to their highly selective anti-tumor action. However, many aggressive cancers such as triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) currently lack well-defined therapeutic targets against which such agents can be developed. The identification of tumor-associated antigens and the generation of antibody drug-conjugates represent an emerging area of intense interest and growth in the field of cancer therapeutics. Glycoprotein non-metastatic b (GPNMB) has recently been identified as a gene that is over-expressed in numerous cancers, including TNBC, and often correlates with the metastatic phenotype. In breast cancer, GPNMB expression in the tumor epithelium is associated with a reduction in disease-free and overall survival. Based on these findings, glembatumumab vedotin (CDX-011), an antibody-drug conjugate that selectively targets GPNMB, is currently being investigated in clinical trials for patients with metastatic breast cancer and unresectable melanoma. This review discusses the physiological and potential pathological roles of GPNMB in normal and cancer tissues, respectively, and details the clinical advances and challenges in targeting GPNMB-expressing malignancies.