At present, the molecular mechanisms of hepatocellular carcinogenesis are not well understood. It is known, however, that cancer development and progression are accompanied by profound changes at the cellular and subcellular level, involving RNA/DNA and protein structure and function. Therefore, high-throughput, proteomic techniques targeting these biological molecules may provide novel insights into HCC genesis and prognosis. We characterized tissue protein profiles from 10 HCC patients using ProteinChip technology (SELDI) which is able to detect minute amounts of proteins and moreover to analyze complex protein pattern. Therefore, after histopathological examination, proteins from kryostat sections of non-tumorous hepatic tissue as well as from central and peripheral tumor areas were isolated from complete histological sections or from selected and microdissected tissue areas. Analysis on the SAX and WCX ProteinChip Arrays revealed 14-26, and 25-29 differentially expressed peaks respectively, which characterized non-tumorous and tumor tissue (p< or =0.05). One feature which allows differentiation between central tumor and peripheral tumor regions could only be detected in microdissected tissue. Using ProteinChip technology in combination with tissue microdissection it is possible to investigate complex changes at the protein level in hepatocellular cancer associated with tumor development and progression.