The progression of pulmonary neoplasia was examined in strain A/J male mice treated with a single dose of vinyl carbamate (60 mg/kg, i.p.) 6 weeks after birth. Interim sacrifices were performed at 7, 8, 10, 12, or 14 months. Proliferative lesions of the lung were divided into four categories: hyperplasias, adenomas, carcinomas arising within adenomas, and carcinomas. Grossly visible surface tumor counts, histologic diagnoses, and morphometric measurements of histologic lesions were used to evaluate progression. Vinyl carbamate-treated mice showed increased mean surface tumor counts at all time points. Diagnostic evaluation suggested that as a function of time, the relative frequency of hyperplasias decreased and the relative frequency of adenomas increased. The relative frequency of adenomas subsequently decreased, whereas the relative frequency of carcinomas increased. At all time points, carcinomas arising within adenomas were present. As time progressed, the number of carcinomas arising within adenomas decreased, whereas the number of "pure" carcinomas increased. Morphometric analysis of lesions indicated hyperplasias to be small, that adenomas were larger than hyperplasias, and carcinomas were larger than adenomas and hyperplasias, suggesting that few adenomas or carcinomas arise de novo. Collectively, these data suggest that the majority of pulmonary tumors in A/J mice treated with vinyl carbamate arise as hyperplasias, progress to adenomas, and ultimately result in carcinomas.