This article describes recent progress in the development of small molecule protein-protein inhibitors of the p53-MDM2 (purine double minute 2, or HDM2 for the human congener) protein-protein interaction, with special attention to the diversity of chemotypes reported to disrupt this protein-protein interaction. In > 50% of all human cancers, the tumor supressor 53 KDa phosphoprotein p53 is either mutated or deleted. The discovery that MDM2 (HDM2) negatively regulates p53 and therefore inhibits the tumorsupressor activity of p53 has instigated numerous drug discovery campaigns aimed at disrupting this protein-protein interaction as a potential cancer therapy. Once regarded as intractable targets disrupted by only large macromolecules, protein-protein interactions (PPI) are now mainstream targets due in large part to the intensive effort applied to the study of p53 and the surprising diversity of small molecules (peptides, natural products, terphenyl and other α-helix mimetics, chalcones, piperidines, piperazines, fused indoles, isoindolinones, spiro-oxindoles, cis-imidazolines (nutlins), quinolinol and benzodiazepines) capable of disrupting the p53-HDM2 PPI. In addition, drug discovery researchers have employed a number of screening approaches and technologies to identify SMPPIs of the p53- HDM2 interaction, and these discovery paradigms will be dicussed. This review will detail the biology of the p53-MDM2 interaction, the major classes of SMPPIs and key medicinal chemistry and in vitro/in vivo biological data reported through October 2006.