Decay-accelerating-factor (DAF, CD55), a phosphatidyl-inositol anchored glycoprotein, is a member of the cell membrane bound complement regulatory proteins that inhibit autologous complement cascade activation. DAF was found expressed on cells that are in close contact with serum complement proteins, but also on cells outside the vascular space and on tumour cells. Using CD55(BRIC110) and CD55(143-30) we show here that DAF(CD55) is only sporadically expressed on the luminal surface of normal colonic epithelium. However, 5/20 adenomas expressed DAF(CD55) on the cell surface of all tumour cells, 5/20 adenomas were completely negative, 10/20 adenomas expressed DAF(CD55) in various amounts. DAF(CD55) was expressed in various intensities on almost all tumour cells of the colon carcinoma cell line HT29. In 5/88 colorectal carcinomas DAF(CD55) was localised on the apical cell surface of all tumour cells, 31/88 were completely negative, 52/88 expressed DAF(CD55) in parts of their neoplastic populations. There was no correlation between the tumour grading, staging and location and the mode of DAF(CD55) expression, but DAF(CD55) was found more often in mucinous carcinomas (P = 0.007). Although the mode of DAF(CD55) expression is not correlated with tumour prognostic parameters, the upregulation of DAF(CD55) in a subset of adenomas and carcinomas needs further investigation concerning protection of tumour cells against complement cytotoxicity.