The expression of oncogene products and growth factors (epidermal growth factor, transforming growth factor-beta, erbB-2, ras p 21, and c-myc) in gallbladder cancer and chronic cholecystitis was measured by immunohistochemical staining on paraffin-embedded serial sections. Expression of these products was graded according to staining intensity in an area of positively stained cells. This study reports the detection of oncogene products and growth factors in cholecystitis as well as in early and late gallbladder cancer. The multiexpression of oncogene products and growth factors was greater for both gallbladder cancer groups as compared with the cholecystitis group. The percentage of epidermal growth factor positivity diminished with increased proportion of interstitial tissue and, conversely, the percentage of transforming growth factor positivity increased with increased proportion of interstitial tissue. The proportion of ras positivity was significantly greater in both early and advanced cholecystic cancer as compared with cholecystitis, but also was considerable even for cholecystitis. These results suggest that various oncogenes may have significant roles in gallbladder cancer and that collagen synthesis is reduced by epidermal growth factor and enhanced by transforming growth factor-beta.