The origin of cancer is discussed from the view of the two-stage model of malignant transformation. Environmental carcinogens play an integral part in the process. When the cell is transformed, cell surface changes are found for such components as fibronectin, collagen, actin, myosin, glycopeptides and enzyme activities. Hormone receptors are a fruitful line for research. Both qualitative and quantitative alterations are also seen with cancer cell enzymes. Among enzymes that can be used as markers of malignancy are the protease. A group of oncodevelopmental proteins, hormonal and non-hormonal, are in regular service for the management of cancer. Improvements in diagnostic specificity can be expected as the newer technologies are harnessed for medical use.