c-erbB-2 protein expression was investigated immunohistochemically in frozen thyroid tissue specimens from 42 patients using a polyclonal sheep antibody. c-erbB-2 immunoreactivity was detected in 12 out of 17 papillary carcinomas, while no c-erbB-2 protein immunostaining was seen in cases of follicular adenoma (five cases), follicular carcinoma (five cases) or medullary carcinoma (one case), nor in cases of non-neoplastic tissue, including normal thyroid tissue from tumour-bearing glands. RNA was extracted from 51 thyroid tissue samples from 34 of the above patients, and c-erbB-2 mRNA was analysed by slot-blot hybridisation. c-erbB-2 mRNA was detectable in all samples, but papillary carcinomas and lymph node metastases showed significantly higher levels of c-erbB-2 mRNA compared to non-neoplastic tissue. The present demonstration of positive c-erbB-2 immunostaining in papillary thyroid carcinomas is contradictory to previous findings on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded material, and emphasises the importance of tissue quality for c-erbB-2 protein detection.