Proteomic based approaches are beginning to be utilized to study the natural history and treatment of breast cancer. A variety of proteomics approaches are under study, and are summarized herein. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE) is still the foundation of most proteomics studies. We present an analysis of 2D-PAGE studies reported to date in breast cancer, including those examining normal/tumor differences and selected populations of breast cells. Newer technologies such as laser capture microdissection and highly sensitive mass spectrometry methods are currently being used together to identify greater numbers of lower abundance proteins that are differentially expressed between defined cell populations. Novel technologies still in developmental phases will enable identification of validated targets in small biopsy specimens, including high density protein arrays, antibody arrays and lysate arrays. Surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (SELDI-TOF) analysis enables the high throughput characterization of lysates from very few tumor cells and may be best suited for clinical biomarker studies. We present SELDI-TOF data herein to show the accuracy of the method in a small cohort of breast tumors, as well as its potential discriminatory capability. Such technologies are expected to supplement our armamentarium of mRNA-based assays, and provide critical information on protein levels and post-translational modifications.