Shiga toxins (Stxs) produced by Shiga toxin-producing bacteria Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 and select serotypes of Escherichia coli are primary virulence factors in the pathogenesis of hemorrhagic colitis progressing to potentially fatal systemic complications, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome and central nervous system abnormalities. Current therapeutic options to treat patients infected with toxin-producing bacteria are limited. The structures of Stxs, toxin-receptor binding, intracellular transport and the mode of action of the toxins have been well defined. However, in the last decade, numerous studies have demonstrated that in addition to being potent protein synthesis inhibitors, Stxs are also multifunctional proteins capable of activating multiple cell stress signaling pathways, which may result in apoptosis, autophagy or activation of the innate immune response. Here, we briefly present the current understanding of Stx-activated signaling pathways and provide a concise review of therapeutic applications to target tumors by engineering the toxins.