To investigate whether expression of E-cadherin correlates with polarised tissue organisation, grade or tumour type in salivary neoplasms, frozen sections from 30 salivary gland neoplasms were stained immunohistochemically for E-cadherin using the antibody HECD-1 and compared to the staining patterns in five samples of normal salivary gland. Lesions with areas of lack of staining were restained at two higher antibody concentrations. Normal salivary gland stained strongly around the periphery of acinar and ductal cells. Neoplasms mostly stained strongly regardless of neoplasm type. Reproducible loss of expression was found only in epithelial cells showing stromal or plasmacytoid (hyaline) differentiation in pleomorphic adenoma. Low- and high- grade mucoepidermoid carcinomas, adenocarcinoma NOS and carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma showed focal loss of expression but this was not related to tissue architecture, differentiation or invasiveness. We conclude that the relationship seen between E-cadherin expression and cell polarity/glandular organisation in breast and colon does not appear to exist for salivary gland neoplasms in which the diversity of architectural patterns precludes detection of any simple relationship. E-cadherin expression seems unlikely to be a useful marker for diagnosis or prognosis in salivary neoplasia in general.