To determine whether a relationship exists between expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and clinicopathological characteristics of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), EGFR was examined in 25 patients surgically treated for HCC using [125I]1-labeled EGF binding assay. Six cases were classified as stage I, 12 as stage II, 4 as stage III, and 3 as stage IV. Partial hepatectomy was performed in 11 cases, segmentectomy in 6, and lobectomy in 8. The level of EGFR in HCC was 8.9 (14.6) fmol/mg protein in HCC and 11.4 (9.2) fmol/mg protein in the adjacent noncancerous diseased liver tissues, and EGFR level in HCC was significantly lower than that of noncancerous liver tissues. HCC stage I + II had significantly lower levels of EGFR compared with stage III + IV (p < 0.05). Our study showed no obvious correlation between EGFR levels and other pathologic characteristics, such as tumor diameter, Edmondson's grade, extracapsular invasion, and vascular invasion. There was no significant difference in EGFR level between DNA diploid and aneuploid tumors. These results suggest that EGFR is not a relevant oncogenic factor for HCC.