Increased expression of the cyclin D1 gene frequently occurs in human squamous carcinomas of the esophagus. However, the expression of cyclin D1 has not been previously examined in detail in adenocarcinomas of the esophagus or stomach. Therefore, we examined, in parallel, the expression of cyclin D1 in both squamous and adenocarcinomas of the esophagus and in adenocarcinomas of the stomach. The level of expression of the cyclin D1 protein was assessed by immunohistochemistry in 39 esophageal and 34 gastric carcinomas and correlated with clinical and pathology parameters. Within the esophagus, 71% of the squamous carcinomas and 64% of the adenocarcinomas were positive for increased cyclin D1 nuclear staining. For adenocarcinomas of the stomach, the overall positive rate was 47%; in the gastric cardia, the rate was 44%, and in other regions of the stomach, it was 50%. In esophageal and gastric adenocarcinomas of the intestinal type, increased expression of cyclin D1 was seen in 70% of the samples, whereas with the diffuse type only 13% were positive (P < .01). Tumors from patients older than the median age of 67 years were more frequently positive than tumors from patients younger than 67 years (74% v 42%, respectively) (P < .01). Positive staining was also seen more frequently in well and moderately differentiated tumors than in poorly differentiated tumors (74% v 49%, respectively) (P < .05). Cytoplasmic staining for cyclin D1 was noted in 22% of the tumors, of various types. Therefore, increased expression of cyclin D1 frequently occurs in both adenocarcinomas and squamous carcinomas of the esophagus, and in adenocarcinomas of the stomach. The increased expression in adenocarcinomas is especially frequent in the intestinal-type lesions.