Met protein is a transmembrane 190 kD heterodimer with tyrosine kinase activity, encoded by c-MET oncogene. It serves as a high affinity receptor for hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/scatter factor (SF), a cytokine which stimulates cell proliferation, motility, and invasion. Expression of Met protein was investigated in 116 thyroid tumours using an anti-Met mouse monoclonal antibody (DQ-13) active on paraffin-embedded material. Reactivity for DQ-13 was observed in 77 per cent of papillary carcinomas, in 70 per cent of Hürthle cell tumours, and rarely in other tumours. The staining was either uniformly present throughout the tumour or limited to nests of infiltrating tumour cells. In some Hürthle cell tumours, prominent accumulation of the protein was observed in the Golgi area. Reactivity for Met protein was decreased or absent in poorly differentiated tumours and was not influenced by tumour size, presence of lymph node metastases, or age of the patient. Immunostaining for Ki-67 revealed that cytoplasmic accumulation of Met protein was not associated with enhanced proliferation of tumour cells. Overexpression of Met protein in thyroid papillary carcinoma may result in increased motility of tumour cells, which in turn may account for intraglandular multifocal dissemination and early lymph node metastasis.