An immunohistochemical study using a comprehensive panel of antibodies to Schwann cell markers, intermediate filaments and extracellular matrix components has been performed on three cases of plexiform schwannoma. All tumour cells expressed S 100 protein, Leu 7-HNK 1 antigen and vimentin; glial fibrillary acidic protein was detected in many tumour cells. In addition, expression of cytokeratin was also demonstrated in one case. The associated extracellular matrix was found to be reactive with antibodies to laminin, heparan sulfate proteoglycan, fibronectin, type I, III, IV and VI collagen. It is concluded that Schwann cells producing their own extracellular matrix are the main components of these tumours. The significance of the cytokeratin expression and the possible role of the extracellular matrix in regulating Schwann cells' proliferation in peripheral nerve tumours are discussed.