Chromatography and electrophoresis have been used for the last half-century to separate small and large molecules. Advances in MS instrumentation and techniques for sample introduction into the mass analyzer (i.e. matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization and electrospray ionization), chromatography in all its formats and modes and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, including two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis, enabled the separation of complex biological mixtures, such as the proteome and the metabolome, in a biological sample. These advances have made it possible to identify compounds that can be used to discriminate between two samples taken from healthy and diseased individuals. The objective is to find proteins or metabolites that can be used as a clinical test for the early diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of the disease and the outcome of therapy. In this manuscript, we present an overview of what has been achieved in the search for biomarkers, with emphasis on cancer, using separation science and MS.