The S100 Ca(2+)-binding proteins recently became of major interest because of their differential expression in neoplastic tissues, their involvement in metastatic processes, and the clustered organization of at least 10 S100 genes on human chromosome 1q21, a region frequently rearranged in several tumors. As a first attempt towards a specific and differentiated immunohistochemical classification of human tumors, we produced, purified and characterized a number of human recombinant S100 proteins and raised specific polyclonal antibodies. Their distinct cellular and intracellular localization was examined by immunohistochemical methods in normal and cancerogenic human tissues and cell lines. S100A1 and S100A2 can be detected in a few normal tissues only, whereas S100A4, S100A6, and S100B are expressed at higher levels in cancer tissues. In the future, these S100 antibodies will potentially be of great value in cancer diagnosis and therapy.