An explosion of information has occurred since scientists began to define the molecular events that describe the malignant transformation and progression of cells and their development towards a life-threatening metastatic disease. The First International Congress on Molecular Staging of Cancer, held in Munich in December 2001, aimed to establish an international platform of exchange among molecular biologists, cell biologists, tumor immunologists, and clinical and surgical oncologists. This network approach should be fruitful for both clinicians and researchers. The highlighted topics included tumor-associated proteolysis, minimal residual disease, new approaches for molecular diagnosis and targeting, and the first molecular staging models. One session focused on technology transfer, opening up a new field of funding for innovative concepts. Finally, the impact of molecular staging on clinical strategies was discussed.