Twelve non-small cell lung carcinomas and adjacent normal lung tissues were examined for mutations of the nm23-H1 gene by using SSCP analysis and for an expression of the nm23-H1 protein by immunohistochemistry. No mutations could be found in either the carcinomas or in the adjacent normal tissues. In contrast, six of 12 carcinomas showed protein expression while only one adjacent normal lung tissue yielded a positive staining result. Therefore, the expression of nm23-H1 protein was analysed in a larger group of non-small cell lung carcinomas (n = 185) to determine whether or not the expression of nm23 protein may be of prognostic relevance. Only a weak relationship between nm23-H1 expression and lymph node involvement was observed. However, a significant correlation between proliferation and nm23-H1 expression was detected. Additionally, a direct correlation between apoptosis and nm23-H1 expression or between myc and nm23-H1 expression was found. Finally, non-small cell lung carcinomas that expressed nm23-H1 protein were more frequently sensitive to doxorubicin than carcinomas that did not express this protein.