The distribution of keratins 8 and 17 and of vimentin in 28 normal human mammary tissue samples, 16 benign tumors, 26 fibrocytic diseases and 52 malignant breast tumors have been studied using monoclonal antibodies HI, E3 and NT30, respectively. Three cell populations in normal mammary epithelium have been identified: luminal epithelium containing keratin 8, myoepithelium of the lobular structures positive for vimentin, and myoepithelium of extralobular ducts positive for keratin 17. In different kinds of benign tumor and dysplastic proliferation a mosaic of cells with all normal phenotypes has been observed. The majority of cells co-expressed keratins 8 and 17 or vimentin. In the overwhelming majority of carcinomas, cells did not contain myoepithelial markers (keratin 17 and vimentin) but expressed only keratin 8 specific to normal luminal epithelium.