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Specimens of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded non-small-cell lung carcinomas (NSCLCs; n = 187) were analysed immunohistochemically for expression of cyclin A. The analysis was intended to determine whether cyclin A has additional prognostic value for predicting patients' survival and drug response. Of the 187 NSCLCs, 141 cases (75%) showed expression of cyclin A. Patients with cyclin A-positive carcinomas had significantly shorter median survival times than patients with cyclin A-negative carcinomas (79 vs 129 weeks, P = 0.045). Similar results were obtained with more homogeneous groups of patients: patients with only T3 tumours, patients with epidermoid carcinomas and patients with lymph node involvement. The clinical parameters (age, stage, histology, extent of tumour size, lymph node involvement) had no influence on expression of cyclin A. A direct correlation between cyclin A and the proportion of S-phase cells (P = 0.08) and an inverse relationship between cyclin A and the proportion of G0/G1-phase cells (P = 0.04) were found. Furthermore, a significant correlation between the expression of cyclin A and the response of NSCLC to doxorubicin in vitro was detected (P = 0.026).