The plasminogen activation (PA) system is involved in the breakdown and remodelling of the extracellular matrix. In the case of cancer, this is a prerequisite for invasion and metastasis. The expression of urokinase-type plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 in particular have been reported to be of clinical and prognostic value. This has primarily been proven in the case of breast carcinoma and colon carcinoma, using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) as a quantitative assay to determine the level of expression. Immunohistochemistry is another technique to investigate the presence of PA components. It allows assessment in a semiquantitative way and informs in addition on the specific distribution within the tissue. To take full advantage of the benefits of immunohistochemistry, it is important to aim at optimal quality in all steps influencing the final judgement of the staining results. These various steps are highlighted and discussed in this paper.