The expression of involucrin, a structural component of the envelope of mature squamous epithelium, was studied in 166 paraffin-embedded breast carcinomas. In 41 cases (24.7%) involucrin-positive, light microscopically non squamous tumour cells were detected. The number of involucrin-positive tumour cells varied considerably from case to case. For further characterization, involucrin-positive cases were studied using monoclonal antibodies to various cytokeratins (PKK1, EAB 903, EAB 904) and, in selected cases, double immunostaining with antibodies to cytokeratins and involucrin were performed. Coexpression of involucrin and cytokeratins demonstrated by PKK1 was seen in all tumour cells, whereas coexpression of involucrin and cytokeratins detected by EAB 904 was only seen in single and scattered cells in a few cases. Cytokeratins detected by EAB 903 were not coexpressed with involucrin in our cases. Our results indicate heterogeneity of cytokeratins in breast carcinomas and suggest a dissociation in the regulation of involucrin and cytokeratin expression.