Clinical follow-up data of 276 colorectal adenocarcinoma patients treated in Kuopio University Hospital between 1976 and 1986 and followed up for a mean of 14 years were analysed. The clinical findings were correlated with tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and with histological and quantitative factors including nuclear parameters and volume-corrected mitotic index. In univariate survival analysis, TNM classification, Dukes' stage, histological grade, and TILs were significant predictors of survival. TNM classification, Dukes' stage, and TILs also predicted recurrence-free survival. In multivariate analysis, TILs were an independent prognostic factor of survival in all cases, as well as in patients with T1-4N0-3M0 and T1-4N1-3M1. TILs also independently predicted recurrence-free survival. TILs can provide important prognostic information in colorectal cancer to be used in evaluating for adjuvant therapy in different tumour stages.