The cell cycle-associated retinoblastoma protein (pRb) and p16 protein were demonstrated using immuno-histochemistry on paraffin sections from 192 cases of invasive breast carcinoma. Abnormal expression of pRb was defined as negative staining and was seen in 17% of tumours. Such abnormal expression was significantly more frequent in tumours with negative oestrogen receptor (ER) status. There was also a trend for tumours which were negative for pRb to be grade III ductal carcinomas. There was no association between p16 staining and any histopathological parameter, though, surprisingly, log-rank analysis showed that strong staining was associated with a poor outcome. There was a significant inverse relationship between pRb and p16 expression and a significant positive association between pRb and cyclin D1. In a Cox multivariate analysis, which included cyclin D1, neither pRb nor p16 was an independent predictor of patient outcome.