The expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was studied immunohistochemically in 234 cases of transitional cell bladder cancer. EGFR was overexpressed in 35% of cases and distinct nuclear localisation of EGFR positivity was found in 31% of the tumours. Overexpression was related to invasive growth, grade 2-3 histology, non-papillary type, DNA aneuploidy and high proliferation rate of cancer cells. The expressions of p53 and EGFR were interrelated, while expression of c-erbB-2 was independent of EGFR expression. Progression of superficial tumours, recurrence-free survival and survival were independently related to overexpression of EGFR in multivariate analysis. T category, S-phase fraction and non-papillary type included all the available prognostic information when the entire cohort was analysed by multivariate methods. The results show that overexpression of EGFR is related to several malignant features and prognosis in superficial bladder cancer. Moreover, the results suggest that overexpression of EGFR is usually a late event in bladder cancer development related to genetic instability rather than an early event in malignant transformation. Further studies are still needed to establish whether the direct measurement of cell proliferation or analysis of growth factor receptors and other oncoproteins gives more accurate prognostic information in bladder cancer.