This article reviews the preclinical research, clinical application and development of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) in the field of cancer therapy. Based on the distinctive antitumour properties of NDV and its positive interaction with the patient’s immune system, this biologic could be considered a major breakthrough in cancer treatment. On one hand, NDV infection creates an inflammatory environment in the tumour microenvironment, which can directly activate NK cells, monocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells and promote the recruitment of immune cells. On the other hand, NDV can induce the upregulation of immune checkpoint molecules, which may break immune tolerance and immune checkpoint blockade resistance. In fact, clinical data have shown that NDV combined with immune checkpoint blockade can effectively enhance the antitumour response, leading to the regression of local tumours and distant tumours when injected, and this effect is further enhanced by targeted manipulation and modification of the NDV genome. At present, recombinant NDV and recombinant NDV combined with immune checkpoint blockers have entered different stages of clinical trials. Based on these studies, further research on NDV is warranted.