Paraffin sections from 29 lung carcinomas (28 primary and 1 metastatic) and 9 pleural malignant mesotheliomas were immunostained with antisera to human hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) and its receptor, met. For HGF/SF, immunoreactivity was demonstrated in all 9 mesotheliomas, 9 of 12 adenocarcinomas, and 7 of 10 squamous cell carcinomas. None of seven cases of small cell anaplastic carcinoma was positive. The adenocarcinomas frequently showed enhanced luminal staining, suggesting possible secretion of HGF/SF, and this pattern of staining was also seen occasionally in bronchial epithelium adjacent to the tumour. Stromal fibroblasts also showed immunoreactivity for HGF/SF in 6/8 cases of mesothelioma but in only 3/12 adenocarcinomas, 1/10 squamous cell carcinomas, and 1/4 small cell anaplastic carcinomas. All tumours stained for met, usually strongly. The staining was mainly cytoplasmic in nature, but some plasma membrane staining was usually evident. Adenocarcinomas showed strong luminal membrane staining, as did adjacent, histologically normal bronchial epithelium. This study demonstrates the presence of HGF/SF and met in most of the tumour types described, particularly mesotheliomas, and suggests that the HGF/SF/met signalling system may play a role in the development of these tumours, either by autocrine or by paracrine mechanisms.