This study presents an improved method for the complete transfer of proteins separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis to a membrane, specifically designed for the screening and identification of antigens recognized by autoantibodies in patients with breast cancer (BCP) and healthy volunteers. This paper reports the evaluation of this technique using proteins from MCF7 as a source of antigens following 2-DE separation. The appropriate quantity of protein to be loaded on gels (150 microg) has been determined, the aim being a complete and reproducible recovery of all separated proteins onto the polyvinylidene fluoride membrane (2D-blot) after a semi-dry electrotransfer. Several different transfer methods were tested in parallel, resulting in the selection and optimisation of one using a discontinuous buffer system, based on the isotachophoresis theory. To facilitate the comparative analysis of the different sets of 2D-blots probed with individual sera from BCP and healthy volunteers, the 2D-blots were stained with colloidal gold following the immunodetection step. The gels and 2D-blots were scanned and analysed by imaging software. The matching permitted exact localisation of particular relevant protein spots hybridised by antibodies on the 2D-blots. These spots were subsequently located on preparative gels for identification by mass spectrometry. A set of 40 2D-blots was probed with 20 sera from patients with breast cancer and 20 sera from healthy volunteers. In the protein profiles submitted to immunodetection, 15 proteins were repeatedly immunodetected by both BCP and sera from healthy people. Those proteins were identified by mass spectrometry. Conversely, some protein isoforms were preferentially immunodetected by BCP sera and may reflect the presence of this cancer. The improved isotachophoretic method described in this study is suitable for comparing the overall profile of autoimmunity between different populations and for subsequent identification of relevant antigens.