The purpose of our study was to assess the prevalence and prognostic significance of HPV infection as well as K-ras codon 12 point mutations in lung cancer. Patients diagnosed with lung carcinoma between 1988 and 1992 (N=99) were selected. HPV detection and typing was performed by PCR from paraffin-embedded tissues, while mutations in codon 12 of K-ras gene were detected using the restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. The prevalence of HPV infection was 15%, while K-ras codon 12 point mutations were found in 18% of the specimens examined. In 50% of the HPV-positive cases, K-ras gene mutation coexisted. HPV 18 was the most frequent type. No correlation was found between K-ras mutation and HPV infection with sex, age and clinical outcome of the patient, or the histological type and the differentiation grade of the tumor. An association was found between K-ms codon 12 point mutations and the stage of the tumor, occurring more frequently at stage III (p=0.037). Infection with potentially oncogenic HPV types could co-operate with K-ras gene activation in the progression of the disease, since K-ras activation by point mutations seems to be a late event in lung carcinogenesis.