Epidermal growth factor (EGF) has been noted to stimulate proliferation of a variety of normal and malignant cells including those of human breast epithelium. We report here that MDA-468, a human breast cancer cell line with a very high number of EGF receptors, is growth-inhibited at EGF concentrations that stimulate most other cells. The basis for the elevated receptor level is EGF receptor gene amplification and over-expression. An MDA-468 clone selected for resistance to EGF-induced growth inhibition shows a number of receptors within the normal range. The results are discussed in relation to a threshold model for EGF-induced growth inhibition.