The insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF1-R) is a cellular receptor overexpressed in many tumor cell lines and in some human tumors that seems to play a critical role in transformation, tumorigenicity, and metastasis. To date, a comprehensive evaluation of tissue distribution of IGF1-R in human carcinomas from different anatomical sites has been lacking. Using stage-oriented human cancer tissue microarrays, we studied IGF1-R expression and distribution in a group of 152 human carcinomas from a variety of anatomical sites and from 63 normal tissues through immunohistochemistry. The tumors included carcinomas from breast (8), ovary (9), endometrium (7), esophagus (5), stomach (7), pancreas (7), liver (4), colon (10), kidney (14), bladder (17), prostate (11), head and neck (31), salivary glands (8), lung (13), and skin (1). Formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded tissues of each case were immuno-stained using the avidin-biotin peroxidase method and an anti-IGF1-R rabbit polyclonal antibody. High-membranous IGF1-R staining was observed in 7 of 8 (87.5%) breast carcinomas, in 9 of 9 (100%) ovarian carcinomas, in 7 of 7 (100%) endometrial carcinomas, in 5 of 7 (71.1%) gastric carcinomas, in 4 of 7 (57.1%) pancreatic carcinomas, in 9 of 10 (90%) colon adenocarcinomas, in 11 of 13 (84.6%) lung carcinomas, in 6 of 11 (54.5%) prostatic adenocarcinomas, and in 17 of 17 (100%) transitional cell carcinomas of the bladder. Only a minority of squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck and esophagus (34), salivary gland tumors (5), and renal cell carcinomas (14) were IGF1-R positive. This study demonstrates the overexpression of IGF1-R across a wide variety of human carcinomas of glandular or transitional cell origin.