The oncogene c-erbB-2 has been shown to be amplified in 17-30% of breast cancers, with similar levels of overexpression of the oncogene product p185, a transmembrane growth factor receptor glycoprotein. Amplification of c-erbB-2 is now generally considered to be a significant prognostic indicator in patients with breast cancer.A series of 74 consecutive breast carcinomas were analysed for c-erbB-2 amplification and p185 overexpression. The procedures of Southern blotting and slot blot were used for the analysis of oncogene amplification, while immunoperoxidase (IPOX) staining and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were used for the analysis of p185 overexpression.Detection of c-erbB-2 oncogene amplification by both the conventional Southern blotting technique and by the slot blot technique showed complete accord, with the amplified c-erbB-2 oncogene being detected in 14 of the 74 patients (18.9%). The c-erbB-2 oncoprotein, as measured by IPOX and ELISA, was found to be overexpressed in 21% and 19% of patients, respectively.Comparison was made between the results attained by all four methods, and further comparison of the techniques was made from the point of view of ease of use, expense and ease of introduction into routine diagnostic laboratories. Immunocytochemistry in combination with slot blotting procedures were considered to be the most cost effective methods for evaluation of overexpression and amplification in routine pathology laboratories.