Nuclear A-type and B-type lamin expression was investigated in the major human lung cancer subtypes: small cell lung cancer (SCLC), squamous cell carcinomas, and adenocarcinomas (both non-SCLC). Twenty-two human lung cancer cell lines and 46 fresh frozen human lung cancer specimens were examined. Expression of B-type lamins was found in all the different cell lines. A-type lamins were expressed in all non-SCLC cell lines but were absent or only weakly expressed in 14 out of 16 SCLC cell lines. The immunocytochemical results were confirmed by immunoblotting and Northern blot analyses. In sections of SCLCs and non-SCLCs, B-type lamins were found to be expressed in all tumors. However, in some non-SCLCs, particularly in adenocarcinomas, a considerable proportion of the tumor cells were negative for B-type lamins. A-type lamin expression in SCLCs was weakly positive or negative in 14 out of 15 cases. In contrast, all non-SCLCs displayed A-type lamins, but in several of these samples, both cytoplasmic and nuclear staining was observed.