Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a malignant tumour of keratinising epidermal cells. This type of skin cancer is the second leading cause of death after melanoma, and it is the second most common type of non-melanoma skin cancer after basal cell carcinoma. The cellular and molecular events involved in the progression of skin cancers are largely unknown. Increased protein synthesis is necessary for the transition of cells from quiescence to proliferation. Translational control is critical for the proper regulation of the cell cycle, tissue induction and growth. Eukaryotic initiation factor eIF4E, an important regulator of translation, plays critical roles in neo-plastic transformation and cancer progression. We investigated eIF4E expression in 49 skin samples (six normal tissues, eight Bowen diseases, seven stage I, 10 stage II, 13 stage III and five stage IV SCCs). Results obtained demonstrated that all SCC samples, evaluated by SDS-PAGE, Western blotting and cap-affinity chromatography using m7GTP-sepharose, presented eIF4E expression (13.6 ± 1.2), whereas, starting from stage 0 (4.1 ± 0.9) to stage I (7.4 ± 1.4), stage II (12.1 ± 2.4), stage III (18.1 ± 3.0) and stage IV (26.2 ± 3.8) SCCs, a constant and significant increase of protein over expression (P < 0.001) was observed. A high expression of eIF4E is correlated with advanced stages. The results presented in this study demonstrate a possible role of eIF4E in SCC.