Activation of the ras oncogene is an important step in carcinogenesis. Human MCF-10A mammary epithelial cells were transformed with a point-mutated form of the Ha-ras oncogene. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) phosphorylation levels were chronically elevated after EGF induction and the EGFR ligand-driven internalization rate was slower in Ha-ras transformed MCF-10A cells. Additionally, basal levels of p42/44 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) expression and enzyme activity were significantly higher in Ha-ras transformed cells, localized predominantly in the nucleus. The anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody (MAb) 225 and the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor PD153035 blocked anchorage-independent growth of Ha-ras transformed cells in soft agar and were more effective when used in combination. The MEK inhibitor PD98059 and anti-erbB-2 MAb L26 also suppressed colony formation of Ha-ras transformed cells in soft agar. Therefore, Ha-ras transformation leads to an augmentation in signaling through the EGFR as a result of an increase in ligand-dependent phosphorylation, a decrease in its internalization and an up-regulation in basal p44/42 MAPK levels. These effects may contribute to uncontrolled growth of Ha-ras-transformed human mammary epithelial cells.