The degree of gene amplification for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and its expression levels were examined in 4 cases of tumor lesions and their cell lines of human squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the oral cavity. The amplification was detected in 1 case (ZA), but not significantly in 3 other cases (HOC605, HOC815, and HOC927) in which the amplification did not occur during the cell line establishment. In those 3 cases, levels of EGFR synthesis and human EGF (hEGF) binding capacity were varied: HOC605 and HOC815 had slightly increased levels of hEGF binding capacity and EGFR synthesis, respectively. While HOC927 had the lowest levels of both, the hEGF binding capacity was elevated in the tumor lesion when compared with the normal counterpart of the same patient. These results suggest that the increased capacity for EGF binding plays a more important role than does gene amplification on the tumorigenesis of SCC of the head and neck.