AIMS--To investigate overexpression of the oncoprotein c-erbB-2 in the dysplasia/carcinoma sequence of Barrett's columnar-lined oesophagus (CLO). METHODS--Immunohistochemical staining was performed using the monoclonal antibody NCL-CB-11 on formalin fixed tissue from 31 cases of Barrett's carcinoma, 20 cases of cancer associated dysplastic CLO, seven cases of dysplastic CLO without cancer, and 20 cases of non-dysplastic CLO. Membranous staining was regarded as positive for c-erbB-2 overexpression; cytoplasmic staining was recorded separately as its significance is uncertain. RESULTS--Membranous c-erbB-2 overexpression was observed in eight of 31 (26%) carcinomas and in none of the cases of dysplastic CLO. Variable cytoplasmic staining was seen in four of 31 (13%) tumours and seven of 27 (26%) cases of dysplastic CLO. No staining was observed in non-dysplastic CLO. CONCLUSIONS--C-erbB-2 overexpression is a relatively late event in the development of some Barrett's carcinomas and is unlikely to be involved in the early stages of neoplastic transformation of CLO.