Primary malignant gliomas from 63 patients were analyzed to determine the relationship between amplification of the gene encoding the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and expression of the corresponding mRNA. Twenty-four tumors were found to have amplified the EGFR gene and amplification of other genes occurred in three additional tumors. Hybridization with synthetic RNA probes was used to quantitate mRNA levels in situ. All 24 tumors with amplification of the EGFR gene had high levels of expression of this gene, while none of the 39 tumors without amplification had increased levels. This shows that, in human gliomas, large increases in the expression of the EGFR gene are invariably associated with alterations in gene structure.