Interactions between cancer cells and laminin, a major component of basement membranes, are mediated through a large variety of cell surface proteins designated as laminin receptors. Among the above proteins, a 67-kd monomeric high affinity laminin receptor (67 LR) has long been suspected to be involved in tumor progression. In this study we wished to establish whether the 67 LR molecule is detectable on tumor cells of Hodgkin's disease (HD) and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHLs), to define its pattern of expression, and to assess the potential utility of 67 LR in differentiating these pathological entities. Morphological and immunohistological studies were performed on 85 specimens of HD and a series of 334 NHL specimens, including anaplastic large cell (ALC) (CD30-positive) lymphomas (73 specimens). For immunohistochemical assessment of the 67 LR we used the monoclonal antibody (MoAb) MLuC5 directed against the 67-kd laminin receptor on paraffin-embedded sections. Reed-Sternberg cells reacted with MLuC5 MoAb in four of 85 (4.7%) HD specimens. Among the NHL specimens, a MLuC5-positive reaction was expressed in 3.3% of B-cell lymphomas. They all belonged to the high grade subtypes. On the other hand, a MLuC5-positive reaction was detected in none of the T-cell lymphomas tested. In contrast to the results obtained with the other NHLs, in 30.2% of ALC (CD30-positive) lymphoma specimens, tumor cells reacted with MLuC5 MoAb. MLuC5-expressing ALC (CD30-positive) lymphoma cells were of either T-cell (six of 17 specimens), B-cell (three of 25 specimens), or undetermined phenotype (10 of 31 specimens). Our investigation has shown that 67 LR as shown by MLuC5 MoAb is detectable only in neoplastic cells of a fraction of ALC (CD30-positive) lymphomas and small subsets of B-cell high grade NHLs and HD. The restricted expression of the 67 LR molecule to ALC (CD30-positive) lymphomas provides a potential tool for the phenotypic separation of this pathological entity from HD and other lymphomas. Whether the detection of the 67 LR expression in these lymphoma subsets may be related to the aggressiveness of the disease remains to be ascertained.