The expression of p53 protein, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and Ki-67 nuclear antigen was examined by immunohistochemistry in biopsies of 16 types of human brain tumours, including 43 astrocytomas. P53 protein, almost certainly its mutant form, was expressed in seven of the 16, and EGFR in 11 of the 16 types of tumours. In astrocytomas both the proportion of tumours which expressed p53 or EGFR increased with grade of malignancy as did the mean Ki-67 labelling index (LI): p53-0% in grade 1, 17% in grade 2, 38% in grade 3, 65% in grade 4; EGFR-0% in grade 1, 33% in grade 2, 85% in grade 3, 95% in grade 4; mean Ki-67 L1-1.1% in grades 1 and 2, 8.3% in grade 3, and 13.4% in grade 4. Astrocytomas which expressed p53 or EGFR had a significantly higher Ki-67 LI at P less than 0.05 (11.8% and 10.7%, resp.) than those that did not (6.2% or 4.1%, resp.). Patients with astrocytomas expressing p53 or EGFR had a significantly reduced survival (P = 0.035 and P = 0.007, resp.): only 11% of the p53 + ve and 13% of the EGFR + ve patients were alive at 100 weeks following diagnosis compared to 36% of p53-ve or 60% of EGFR-ve patients. Patients with Ki-67 LI greater than 5% had a reduced survival (P less than 0.0001)--none survived beyond 86 weeks following diagnosis, whilst 63% of patients with less than 5% positive cells were still alive at 100 weeks. The univariate analysis showed that in astrocytomas expression of p53 mutants, EGFR protein, and Ki-67 greater than 5% are associated with malignant progression and poor prognosis. The multivariate analysis revealed that only tumour grade and Ki-67LI were independent prognostic factors for survival.