Cancer stem-like cell (CSC) model has been established to investigate the underlying mechanisms of tumor initiation and progression. The imbalance between acetylation and deacetylation of histone or non-histone proteins, one of the important epigenetic modification processes, is closely associated with a wide variety of diseases including cancer. Acetylation and deacetylation are involved in various stemness-related signal pathways and drive the regulation of self-renewal and differentiation in normal developmental processes. Therefore, it is critical to explore their role in the maintenance of cancer stem-like cell traits. Here, we will review the extensive dysregulations of acetylation found in cancers and summarize their functional roles in sustaining CSC-like properties. Additionally, the use of deacetyltransferase inhibitors as an effective therapeutic strategy against CSCs is also discussed.