Creatinine kinase BB (CK-BB) is elevated in many tumours including those of the breast. We have recently described a new, highly sensitive and specific method for measuring CK-BB, based on monoclonal antibodies and time-resolved fluorometry. Using this method, we quantitated CK-BB in 172 breast tumour cytosols and examined the associations between CK-BB and other clinicopathological variables and patient survival. High CK-BB levels were seen more frequently in tumours from patients who were younger (age < 50 years), patients who qualified for chemotherapy and patients with oestrogen receptor-positive tumours. No association was seen between CK-BB and tumour stage, grade, size, histological type or the progesterone receptor. In univariate analysis, the risk of relapse or death was higher in the group with tumours containing high CK-BB levels but the difference did not reach statistical significance. In multivariate analysis, the risk of death was statistically significantly higher in the high-CK-BB group. Analysis of subsets of patients revealed that patients with oestrogen receptor-negative cancer have higher risk of death if their tumours contain high levels of CK-BB. Our data suggest that, in general, CK-BB is associated with more aggressive tumours but its value as a prognostic indicator is limited. CK-BB content of breast tumours may be more useful as an aid in selecting therapy directed at inhibiting this enzyme activity and thus depriving tumour cells of their energy source.