Cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P) is a common congenital malformation with a complex etiology which is not fully elucidated yet. Epidemiological studies point to different etiologies in the cleft lip and palate subgroups, isolated cleft lip (CL), isolated cleft palate (CP) and combined cleft lip and palate (CLP). In order to understand the biological basis in these cleft lip and palate subgroups better we studied the expression profiles in human tissue from patients with CL/P. In each of the CL/P subgroups, samples were obtained from three patients and gene expression analysis was performed. Moreover, selected differentially expressed genes were analyzed by quantitative RT-PCR, and by immunohistochemical staining of craniofacial tissue from human embryos. Osteopontin (SPP1) and other immune related genes were significantly higher expressed in palate tissue from patients with CLP compared to CP and immunostaining in palatal shelves against SPP1, chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) and serglycin (PRG1) in human embryonic craniofacial tissue were positive, supporting a role for these genes in palatal development. However, gene expression profiles are subject to variations during growth and therefore we recommend that future gene expression in CL/P studies should use tissue from the correct embryonic time and place if possible, to overcome the biases in the presented study.