The roles of the MYC, ERBB2, and CCND1 genes in thyroid carcinogenesis are poorly known. We used real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays based on fluorescent TaqMan methodology to quantify MYC, ERBB2, and CCND1 gene amplification and expression in 24 benign tumors (adenomas and goiter nodules) and 12 carcinomas (9 papillary, 2 follicular, and 1 anaplastic) of the thyroid. Real-time PCR is a recently developed method for nucleic acid quantification in homogeneous solutions, and has the potential to become a reference in terms of performance, accuracy, sensitivity, wide dynamic range, excellent interlaboratory agreement, and high throughput capacity, while avoiding the need for tedious post-PCR processing. Overexpression (>5 standard deviations above mean for normal thyroid tissues) of the ERBB2 and CCND1 genes was observed (3.2- to 5.2-fold and 3.8- to 8.4-fold, respectively) in 5 (14%) and 13 (36%) of 36 neoplastic thyroid RNA samples, respectively. Overexpression of the CCND1 gene was observed in both the benign and malignant thyroid tumors, whereas the ERBB2 gene was mainly overexpressed in malignant thyroid tumors. None of the neoplastic thyroid samples overexpressed MYC. No MYC, ERBB2, or CCND1 gene amplification was identified. These results suggest that the CCND1 gene plays an early role and the ERBB2 gene a later role in thyroid tumorigenesis.