We have developed methods to use anticyclin A, B, and E antibodies as reagents to specifically detect proliferating cells in specific phases of the cell cycle in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections of tissues and cells. Staining of 48 archival cases of breast cancer showed that these antibodies estimate the tumor proliferation fraction and therefore are potentially useful for the prediction of prognosis. A subset of cancers had a high frequency of tumor cells expressing cyclins A and E, out of proportion to other proliferation markers, suggesting that these tumors may have deregulated cyclin expression. In addition to recognizing authentic cyclin E in the nucleus of proliferating cells, anticyclin E antibody cross-reacted with a cytoplasmic protein in nonproliferating endothelial cells. This cross- reaction allows the simultaneous visualization and quantitation of microvessels in the tumors, measuring a second potential predictor of breast cancer prognosis, tumor angiogenesis.