Epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) and ras mutations are known to play a significant role in controlling cell growth and tumor promotion. Both of them transmit mitogenic signals to the nucleus by activation of Raf-1 kinase. In this study, the expression of EGFR and mutant Ras proteins, and, for the first time, the expression, phosphorylation and kinase activity of Raf-1 kinase have been determined in paired samples of colorectal cancer and mucosa. The tumor and mucosa samples did not differ significantly with regard to Raf-1 kinase content and activity. A major difference between tumors and mucosa was found, however, in the phosphorylation of Raf-1. Most of the mucosa samples (13/20), but only 1/20 of the cancer samples, contained hyperphosphorylated Raf-1. EGFR were significantly (p = 0.0025) decreased in the tumors. The decreased phosphorylation of Raf-1 in colonic carcinomas could be the result of activation of Raf-1 phosphatases or inactivation of kinases phosphorylating Raf-1. New forms of treatment based on EGFR overexpression do not seem to be suitable for the majority of colonic cancers.