Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease that has heterogeneous clinical manifestation with diverse patterns of organ involvement, autoantibody profiles and varying degrees of severity of disease. Research and clinical experience indicate that different subtypes of SLE patients will likely benefit from more tailored treatment regimes, but we currently lack a fast and objective test with high enough sensitivity to enable us to perform such sub-grouping for clinical use. In this article, we review how proteomic technologies could be used as such an objective test. In particular, we extensively review many leukocyte surface markers that are known to have an association with the pathogenesis of SLE, and we discuss how these markers can be used in the further development of a novel SLE-specific antibody leukocyte capture microarray. In addition, we review some bioinformatics challenges and current methods for using the data generated by these cell-capture microarrays in clinical use. In a broader context, we hope our experience in developing a disease specific cell-capture microarray for clinical application can be a guide to other proteomic practitioners who intend to extend their technologies to develop clinical diagnostic and prognostic tests for complex diseases.