With the availability of new technologies and the increased interest of medical practitioners to use molecular biomarkers in early detection and diagnosis, and in the prediction of therapeutic treatment efficacy and clinical outcomes, the academic and research institutions, as well as the pharmaceutical industry, have increased their efforts to develop novel molecular biomarkers for several human diseases, including cancer. The identification of molecular biomarkers also enables the development of a new generation of diagnostic products and to integrate diagnostics and therapeutics. This integrated approach will aid in 'individualizing' the medical practice. Here, we address issues related to the development of biomarkers, novel technological platforms used for drug development, future technologies and strategies for validating biomarkers for their clinical utility. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.