An association between anal squamous cell carcinoma and human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 DNA has been documented in the UK. If HPV type 16 is an important aetiological factor in the development of this tumour it would be expected to occur in anal cancer tissues from other parts of the world. In this study a series of 173 anal squamous cell carcinoma tissue samples from five centres around the world have been examined by DNA hybridisation for HPV type 16 DNA sequences. HPV type 16 DNA was found in 50 of 173 (29%) of these. The prevalence of HPV associated anal squamous cell carcinoma was significantly lower in tissue from India and South Africa than in the Swiss, Polish, or Brazilian samples. HPV associated anal squamous cell carcinoma does occur in other countries and further investigations of the prevalence of these tumours in association with other HPV types are required.