The specificity of proteins identified by proteomics as biomarkers for defined conditions or as components of biological processes and pathways is crucial. We critically reviewed differentially expressed proteins from comparative proteomic studies identified by 2-DE followed by MS, especially with MALDI technique. Based on 66 of those studies, a list of 44 proteins is presented as generally detected proteins regardless of species, in vivo or in vitro conditions, tissues and organs, and experimental objective. Similarly, a list of 28 generally detected protein families is presented. The enriched functions linked to these generally detected proteins reveal that there are some common biological features beyond the technical limitations. Cellular stress response can be the universal reason as to why these proteins are generally expressed differentially. Using those proteins as biomarkers for cellular processes other than stress response should be done with caution. In future proteomic studies more profound approaches should be applied to look beyond these proteins to find specific biomarkers. Our results are discussed in relation to a recent viewpoint publication by Petrak et al. [Proteomics 2008, 8, 1744-1749].