We analysed the clinical significance of ANCA in patients with ulcerative colitis. On either an indirect immunofluorescence assay or an ELISA with fixed neutrophils, 71% (25/35) of the patients were positive for ANCA. However, only half of them reacted with either cathepsin G or lactoferrin. Western blot assays revealed positive bands in 40% (10/25) of the antibody-positive patients. The sizes of the bands detected were approximately 58, 47, 44, 40, and 28 kD. No significant correlation was found between the ANCA positivity and various variables, i.e. disease activity, extent of lesion, or treatment of the disease. The anti-cathepsin G and 28-kD positivity, however, significantly correlated with a refractory type of ulcerative colitis.