1. Glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity in the cytosol of renal cortex and tumours from eight men and eight women was measured using 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene (CDNB) as a substrate. GST activities ranged from 685 to 2192 nmol/min/mg protein in cortex (median 1213) and from non-detectable (minimum 45) to 2424 nmol/min/mg protein in tumours (median 469). The activities in the tumours were lower than those in the normal cortices (p < 0.05). 2. In men, the activity in the cortical cytosol was in all cases higher than that measured in the corresponding tumours (p < 0.05). In women, the difference in activity between cortices and tumours was not significantly different (p > 0.05). 3. The age of the patients ranged from 42 to 81 years (median 62) and was not found to play a role in the levels of GST activity observed in cortex or in renal tumours from either sex. 4. Immunoblotting and immunohistochemical studies confirmed that GST-alpha was the predominant form expressed both in normal cortex and tumour and probably accounted for most of the GST activity present in these samples. GST-mu and GST-phi were expressed in both tumours and normal cortex and, while in some cases the level of expression in the cortices was higher than that found in the tumours, the reverse was also observed. Within the GST-mu class, GST M1/M2 was only detected in one sample (tumour), which showed the highest overall expression of GST-mu. GSTM3 was the predominant isoenzyme of the mu class in normal and tumour tissue, whereas GTM4 and GSTM5 were not detected. 5. These differences could have functional significance where xenobiotics or cytotoxic drugs are specific substrates for the different classes of GSTs.