Epidermal growth factor (EGF) and its receptor (EGFR) were measured in 60 breast cancers (BC), 6 benign mammary tumors (BM), 8 samples of normal breast (NB), 6 endometrial carcinomas (EC) and 30 lung cancers (LC). EGF was measured in plasma, saliva and urine from 20 patients with BC, before and after tumor excision, and in 8 patients with metastatic disease. The median EGF in BM and BC was significantly higher (P < 0.05) than in NB. No significant correlation between EGF and EGFR was found in BC. Neither tumor excision nor the spreading of the disease significantly modified the EGF concentrations in biological fluids. In LC there was an inverse relationship between EGF and EGFR (rs = -0.36; P = 0.09), which disappeared in normal lung. It is concluded that EGF may play a role in malignant transformation; however, the weak correlation between EGF and EGFR lessens the importance of EGF in either autocrine or paracrine stimulation of tumor growth.