On the basis of the International Agency for Research on Cancer's evaluations of occupational exposures, 22 occupational agents are classified as human carcinogens and an additional 22 agents as probable human carcinogens. In addition, evidence of increased risk of cancer was associated with particular industries and occupations, although no specific agents could be identified as etiologic factors. The main problem in the construction and interpretation of such lists is the lack of detailed qualitative and quantitative knowledge about exposures to known or suspected carcinogens. The recent examples of recognized occupational carcinogens, such as cadmium, beryllium, and ethylene oxide, stress the importance of the refinement in the methods for exposure assessment and for statistical analysis on the one hand and the potential benefits from the application of biomarkers of exposure and early effect on the other hand. Other trends that may be identified include the increasing practice of multicentric studies and investigations of exposures relevant to white collar workers and women. Finally, there is a need for investigation of occupational cancer risks in developing countries.