In the strictest sense, the cell secretome (conditioned media) refers to the collection of proteins that contain a signal peptide and are processed via the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus through the classical secretion pathway. More generally, the secretome also encompasses proteins shed from the cell surface and intracellular proteins released through non-classical secretion pathway or exosomes. These secreted proteins include numerous enzymes, growth factors, cytokines and hormones or other soluble mediators. They are fundamental in the processes of cell growth, differentiation, invasion and angiogenesis by regulating cell-to-cell and cell-to-extracellular matrix interactions. The main aim of this review is to provide a synopsis of findings from the analysis of the secretome taking diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases as examples. We will also discuss the preparation of conditioned media and on the main proteomic-based methodological approaches that have been developed for the study of secreted/shed proteins.