The prognostic role of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the related receptor p185HER-2 in lung cancer is as yet undefined. We investigated the immunohistochemical expression of EGFR (monoclonal antibody R1; Amersham) and p185HER-2 (polyclonal antibody A485; Dako) in cryosections. A total of 186 unselected and systemically untreated patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) diagnosed and treated at Odense University Hospital, Denmark, were included. Median follow-up period was 66 months. EGFR and p185HER-2 was highly expressed in 55% and 26% of cases respectively. Expression of EGFR was independent of p185HER-2 expression. The expression of EGFR was higher in squamous cell carcinomas whereas the level of p185HER-2 staining was higher in adenocarcinomas. Expression of either or both receptors was not correlated with age, histological grading, stage and prognosis. We conclude that immunohistochemical detection of these growth factor receptors failed to demonstrate a prognostic significance in patients operated on for NSCLC.