Pathologists are commonly facing the problem of attempting to identify the site of origin of a metastatic cancer when no primary tumor has been identified, yet few markers have been identified to date. Multitumor classifiers based on microarray based RNA expression have recently been described. Here we describe the first approximation of a tumor classifier based entirely on protein expression quantified by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DE). The 2DE was used to analyze the proteomic expression pattern of 77 similarly appearing (using histomorphology) adenocarcinomas encompassing 6 types or sites of origin: ovary, colon, kidney, breast, lung and stomach. Discriminating sets of proteins were identified and used to train an artificial neural network (ANN). A leave-one-out cross validation (LOOCV) method was used to test the ability of the constructed network to predict the single held out sample from each iteration with a maximum predictive accuracy of 87% and an average predictive accuracy of 82% over the range of proteins chosen for its construction. These findings demonstrate the use of proteomics to construct a highly accurate ANN-based classifier for the detection of an individual tumor type, as well as distinguishing between 6 common tumor types in an unknown primary diagnosis setting. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.