A series of 13 oligodendrogliomas (WHO grade II) and 20 anaplastic oligodendrogliomas (WHO grade III) was studied for gene amplification and expression of the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR). EGFR gene amplification was found in only one case of anaplastic oligodendroglioma, which additionally showed a deletion/rearrangement at the 5' end of the gene. Northern blot analysis, however, revealed increases of EGFR mRNA expression relative to non-neoplastic control brain in 6 of 13 oligodendrogliomas and 10 of 18 anaplastic oligodendrogliomas. All cases with increased mRNA expression showed strong immunoreactivity for EGFR protein. Our findings thus indicate that increased expression of EGFR mRNA and protein is common in low-grade and high-grade oligodendroglial tumors and in the vast majority of cases is not caused by gene amplification.