Cathepsin K is consistently and diffusely expressed in alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS) and a subset of translocation renal cell carcinomas (RCCs). However, cathepsin K expression in human neoplasms has not been systematically analyzed. We constructed tissue microarrays (TMA) from a wide variety of human neoplasms, and performed cathepsin K immunohistochemistry (IHC). Only 2.7% of 1,140 carcinomas from various sites exhibited cathepsin K labeling, thus suggesting that among carcinomas, cathepsin K labeling is highly specific for translocation RCC. In contrast to carcinomas, cathepsin K labeling was relatively common (54.6%) in the 414 mesenchymal lesions studied, including granular cell tumor, melanoma, and histiocytic lesions, but not paraganglioma, all of which are in the morphologic differential diagnosis of ASPS. Cathepsin K IHC can be helpful in distinguishing ASPS and translocation RCC from some but not all of the lesions in their differential diagnosis. © American Society for Clinical Pathology.