Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) offer unique insights into ongoing biochemical processes in healthy and diseased humans. Yet, their diagnostic use is hampered by the limited understanding of their biochemical or cellular origin and their frequently unclear link to the underlying diseases. Major advancements are expected from the analyses of human primary cells, cell lines and cultures of microorganisms. In this review, a database of 125 reliably identified VOCs previously reported for human healthy and diseased cells was assembled and their potential origin is discussed. The majority of them have also been observed in studies with other human matrices (breath, urine, saliva, feces, blood, skin emanations). Moreover, continuing improvements of qualitative and quantitative analyses, based on the recommendations of the ISO-11843 guidelines, are suggested for the necessary standardization of analytical procedures and better comparability of results. The data provided contribute to arriving at a more complete human volatilome and suggest potential volatile biomarkers for future validation. Dedication:This review is dedicated to the memory of Prof. Dr. Anton Amann, who sadly passed away on January 6, 2015. He was motivator and motor for the field of breath research.