Early diagnosis of lung carcinoma is greatly desired. A potential source of early information regarding the process of cancerisation in the airways is exhaled breath condensate (EBC). The direct approach to detecting cancerisation is examining DNA from the area of chronic damage, i.e. airways and lung parenchyma. We therefore investigated DNA in EBC of patients with NSCLC and healthy volunteers. Human DNA was amplified by PCR in exhaled breath condensate and used to detect p53 mutations. A PCR of the beta-actin gene fragment was used to detect human DNA in each of the EBC samples. In 65.7% of the samples, the beta-actin gene was found. Extracted DNA as well as native EBC were equally suited as starting material for amplification. Mutations of the p53 gene were investigated in all EBC samples of NSCLC patients. p53 exons 5-8 were amplified using nested PCR and subsequently sequenced. Mutations were found in four of the patients (n=11; 36.4%) while no mutation was found in volunteers (n=10). Mutations detected in EBC were also compared with those of corresponding tumor tissue. Different point mutations in EBC and tumor tissue were revealed in all cases. Our findings demonstrate that exhaled breath condensate may be used for analysis of somatic gene mutations in an area of direct tobacco-related DNA damage.