Immunostaining to identify nuclear antigens expressed throughout the cell cycle provides a convenient way of assessing proliferating kinetics in tumours. We studied proliferation activity of gastric carcinomas by Ki-67 and PCNA immunostaining and the two methods were compared. The mode of tissue preparation differed, fresh frozen for Ki-67 and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded for PCNA. Immunostaining with avidin-biotin was used in both. The labelling index (LI) and a semi-quantitative grading of cell proliferation were assessed in both markers. Significant correlation was shown between LI and grading with either Ki-67 and PCNA. However, no correlation was found between PCNA and Ki-67. This lack of relationship between the two markers may be attributed to a number of factors. 1. The most likely is the marked inter- and intra-tumour heterogeneity of gastric carcinomas reflected in high standard deviation values. 2. Preparation of tissue and small size sampling with Ki-67. 3. Long life of PCNA leading to detection of cells that have recently left the cell cycle. 4. One may be observing deregulated expression of DNA as seen in certain tumours. PCNA offers the advantage of being applicable to archival material.