Biomarkers have been used by pathologists to aid the diagnosis of tumors for almost three decades. Their use has resulted in the re-evaluation and reclassification of several types of tumors. Currently, biomarkers are required to differentiate certain specific tumors with similar histologic patterns. Additional uses of biomarkers in the characterization of neoplastic processes are discussed including their use in prognosis, detecting early neoplastic processes, identifying tumor recurrence, measuring the effectiveness of various therapies (surrogate end point biomarkers), and identifying targets for novel therapies including immunotherapy and gene therapy. We propose that these newer uses of biomarkers will be just as important to pathology in the future as the uses of biomarkers in diagnosis have been over the past two decades.