The pattern of DNA methylation at cytosine bases in the genome is tightly linked to gene expression, and DNA methylation abnormalities are often observed in diseases. The ten eleven translocation (TET) enzymes oxidize 5-methylcytosines (5mCs) and promote locus-specific reversal of DNA methylation. TET genes, and especially TET2, are frequently mutated in various cancers, but how the TET proteins contribute to prevent the onset and maintenance of these malignancies is largely unknown. Here, we highlight recent advances in understanding the physiological function of the TET proteins and their role in regulating DNA methylation and transcription. In addition, we discuss some of the key outstanding questions in the field.