Whispering gallery mode (WGM) optical microresonators have attracted intense interests in the past decades. The combination of high quality factors (Q) and small mode volumes of modes in WGM resonators significantly enhances the light-matter interactions, making them excellent cavities for achieving low threshold and narrow linewidth lasers. In this Review, the progress in WGM microcavity lasers is summarized, and the laser performance considering resonator geometries and materials as well as lasing mechanisms is discussed. Label-free detection using WGM resonators has emerged as highly sensitive detection schemes. However, the resolution is mainly limited by the cavity Q factor which determines the mode linewidth. Microcavity lasers, due to their narrow laser spectral width, could greatly improve the detection resolution. Some recent developments in sensing using microcavity lasers are discussed.