Theranostic approaches, combining the functionality of both therapy and imaging, have shown potential in cancer nanomedicine. Oligonucleotides such as small interfering RNA and microRNA, which are powerful therapeutic agents, have been effectively employed in theranostic systems against various cancers. Nanoparticles are used to deliver oligonucleotides into tumors by passive or active targeting while protecting the oligonucleotides from nucleases in the extracellular environment. The use of quantum dots, iron oxide nanoparticles and gold nanoparticles and tagging with contrast agents, like fluorescent dyes, optical or magnetic agents and various radioisotopes, has facilitated early detection of tumors and evaluation of therapeutic efficacy. In this article, we review the advantages of theranostic applications in cancer therapy and imaging, with special attention to oligonucleotide-based therapeutics.