The cinnoline nucleus is a very important bicyclic heterocycle that is used as the structural subunit of many compounds with interesting pharmaceutical properties. Cinnoline derivatives exhibit broad spectrum of pharmacological activities such as antibacterial, antifungal, antimalarial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic and antitumor activities. Some of them are under evaluation in clinical trials. In the present review, we have compiled studies focused on the biological properties of cinnoline derivatives conducted by many research groups worldwide between 2005 and 2019. Comprehensive and target oriented information clearly indicate that the development of cinnoline based molecules constitute a significant contribution to the identification of lead compounds with optimized pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties.