The expression of mucin carbohydrates [Tn, sialosyl-Tn(STn), and T antigens] and core proteins [MUCI-apomucin-related antigen (ARA) and MUC2-ARA] was examined immunohisto-chemically in tissues from 40 patients with hepatolithiasis and 26 patients with intrahepatic bile-duct carcinoma. Tn and STn antigens were expressed in most of the carcinomas, and were also often expressed in the atypical bile-duct epithelium of the patients with hepatolithiasis or carcinoma, whereas they were rarely or never expressed in the normal bile duct, suggesting that they are effective tumor markers. T antigen was less useful as a marker for intrahepatic bile-duct carcinoma or the atypical epithelium, because it was expressed in normal bile-duct of some cases. Regarding the expression of ARAs in the carcinomas, non-invasive bile-duct cyst adenocarcinomas with favorable prognosis either expressed no MUCI-ARA with [DF3(-), MUSE11(-) and 139H2(-)] staining pattern or expressed MUCI-ARA with [DF3(-), MUSE11(+) and 139H2(+)] staining pattern. However these tumors often expressed MUC2-ARA with [anti-MRP(+) and CCP58(+)] staining pattern. In contrast, most invasive non-papillary cholangiocarcinomas with poor prognosis expressed MUCI-ARA with [DF3( + ), MUSE 11(+) and 139H2(+)] staining pattern, but expressed no MUC2-ARA with [anti-MRP(-) and CCP58(-)] staining pattern. These results suggests that different apomucins are produced by bile-duct cystadenocarcinomas and cholangiocarcinomas with differing prognosis. Furthermore, expression of Tn and STn antigens is a useful indicator of malignancy in the intrahepatic duct. © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.