Despite emerging data relating oncogene expression, growth factors and/or their receptors to the etiology of lung cancer, standard clinicopathological evaluation is still used for the diagnostic and prognostic purposes. Recent studies have shown that expression of some oncogenes and growth factors/receptors may be useful as markers in routine diagnostic and prognostic processes. For example, EGF/erb-B family of peptides may play a role in lung carcinogenesis. Similarly, expression of TGF-alpha mRNA and peptide has been shown to occur in various human lung carcinomas in vivo and in vitro. However, results concerning the role of TGF-alpha in lung carcinoma are conflicting and therefore its clinical value still remains obscure. To better evaluate the potential value of TGF-alpha in clinical application we have investigated the relationship between TGF-alpha expression in 51 lung carcinomas and 26 different clinical and clinicopathological parameters. The only significant correlation noted was between TGF-alpha and venous blood erythrocytes and eosinophils. This study suggests a relationship between metastasis and aggressive behavior of lung cancer. This data shows that TGF-alpha expression can not serve as an independent tumor marker for lung cancer.