DNA arrays allow the simultaneous analysis of expression levels for thousands of genes in normal and pathological tissues and hold great promise in molecular medicine, notably in cancer research. The great biological and clinical diversity present in human tumours is poorly characterised by the current classification systems. DNA arrays can provide a better understanding of oncogenesis, leading to improvements in cancer management. First, the identification of new target genes and pathways will allow the development of specific molecular-based anticancer drugs. Secondly, expression profiles will permit tumour classification in more homogeneous diagnostic and prognostic groups, as well as the identification of new clinically and biologically relevant tumour subclasses. Here, we review the technology and present some cancer studies with promising results. Finally, we discuss some of the issues that must be resolved in the near future, so that DNA arrays can fulfil the aims mentioned above.