We have examined a series of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) of the anus, anal intraepithelial neoplasia grade III (AINII) lesions and haemorrhoids for the presence of sequences from transforming human papillomavirus (HPV) types by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)/Southern blotting. In addition, the same DNAs have been analysed for abnormalities in the c-myc, p53 and retinoblastoma (Rb-1) gene loci by Southern blotting. HPV16 sequences were detected in a total of 38 of 50 (76%) and HPV18 sequences in 4 of the 50 cancers (8%). Of 12 haemorrhoids examined, none contained HPV16 or HPV18 sequences. Amplification of c-myc was demonstrated in 15 of the 50 cancers (30%), of which 13 were HPV16 positive, and one also positive for HPV18. Amplification of c-myc was not observed in the 5 AINIII or any of the 41 haemorrhoid DNAs analysed. Rearrangement of c-myc was not seen in any of the DNAs. Gross rearrangement, or loss of p53 or Rb-1 loci was not observed in any normal or tumor tissue. However, in preliminary analysis of p53 sequence, three tumours negative for HPV were heterozygous for p53 point mutation whereas six HPV positive tumours and two haemorrhoids were wild-type sequence throughout exons four to ten.