Prognostic value of p53 and PCNA expression in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains controversial. In this study we determined the relevance of these abnormalities in terms of overall survival and disease-free survival in 95 NSCLC patients who underwent curative pulmonary resection. Expression of p53 was found in 44 samples (45%), expression of PCNA-in 79 samples (83%), and expression of both markers-in 35 samples (36%). There was no relationship between expression of either protein and major clinicopathological characteristics. Median survival for patients with and without p53 expression was 36 and 33 months, respectively and 5-year survival probability-29 and 37%, respectively (P=0.73). Median survival for patients with and without PCNA expression was 36 and 27 months, respectively and 5-year survival probability-35 and 25%, respectively (P=0.60). There was no significant difference in overall survival between particular groups of patients with tumors carrying four possible p53/PCNA phenotypes. In multivariate analysis including patient age, sex, tumor stage, tumor type and differentiation, p53 and PCNA expression, the only variable important for survival was stage of disease. These results suggest the lack of prognostic relevance of p53 and PCNA expression in surgically treated NSCLC patients.