In the treatment of cutaneous melanoma, provisional therapeutic strategies have been designed to combat tumour load using T cells that are sensitized with peptides derived from melanoma autoantigens, such as glycoprotein 100 (gp100), melanoma antigen recognized by T cells 1 (MART-1 or MelanA), tyrosinase and tyrosinase-related protein 1 (TRP-1). We recently found that gp100, MART-1 and tyrosinase are heterogeneously expressed in human cutaneous melanoma (De Vries et al (1997) Cancer Res 57: 3223-3229). Here, we extended our investigations on expression of these immunotherapy candidate proteins to uveal melanoma lesions. Cryostat sections from 11 spindle-type, 21 mixed and epithelioid tumours and four metastasis lesions were stained with antibodies specifically recognizing gp100, MART-1, tyrosinase and TRP-1. In addition, we used the DOPA reaction to detect tyrosinase enzyme activity as a confirmation of the tyrosinase immunohistochemical results. High expression of gp100, MART-1 and tyrosinase was found in the uveal melanoma lesions: 80% of the lesions displayed 75-100% positive tumour cells. TRP-1 positivity was slightly less: approximately 65% of the lesions stained in the 75-100% positive tumour cell category. All uveal melanoma lesions were positive for the four markers studied, this being in contrast to cutaneous melanoma where 17% of the advanced primary lesions and metastases were negative. The presence of these antigens was a little lower in metastases. We conclude that uveal melanomas and their metastases express melanocyte-lineage immunotherapy candidate proteins very abundantly. Uveal melanomas differ in this respect from cutaneous melanoma, in which the expression of these immunotherapy antigens was much more heterogeneous. This makes uveal melanoma a suitable candidate tumour for immunotherapeutic approaches.