Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have become an integral part of therapeutic strategies used to treat solid tumours. Directed against membrane-bound receptors or extracellular ligands with high specificity, they target elements upstream in the signal transduction pathways that contribute to malignant growth, proliferation, survival, angiogenesis and spread. Several mAbs have now received regulatory approval – trastuzumab, cetuximab, panitumumab, bevacizumab and catumaxomab- across multiple solid tumour types, including breast, colorectal, and non-small cell lung cancers, amongst others. Despite these successes there have been ample disappointments, which in turn is stimulating ongoing research and development efforts. Nevertheless, greater initiative and vision in this development process is needed, from intelligent compound design to enrichment of patient populations during clinical development, biomarker discovery and ultimately tailored, individualised treatment decisions. In this commentary we review those mAbs now in routine use for solid tumours, interesting aspects of their use and future directions.