Objective. The expression status of p27 and cyclin D1 was examined in 21 uterine papillary serous carcinoma (UPSC) specimens to determine the role of these genes in the development of this disease. The status of p53, p16, Rb, and K-ras was also determined in these tissues so that a marker profile for UPSC could be compared with the published marker profile for other forms of endometrial and ovarian cancer. Methods. Immunohistochemistry was performed on 21 UPSC tissue sections to determine the expression status of p27, cyclin D1, p53, p16, and Rb. K-ras mutations were identified by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of DNA isolated from the UPSC sections. Results. All specimens displayed at least one molecular abnormality. A high incidence of p27 alterations were observed, with reduced p27 expression measured in 16 of 21 (76%) tumors, followed by p53 alterations observed in 13 of 21 (62%) tumors. The p27 abnormalities occur at an early stage of the disease, with 63% (518) of Stage I cases displaying reduced p27 expression. Cyclin D1 overexpression was observed in 4 of 21 (19%) specimens, whereas p16, Rb, and K-ras abnormalities were each observed in 2 of 21 specimens (10%). Both K-ras mutations were at codon 12. The p16 and Rb abnormalities coexisted in the same specimens. Conclusion. UPSC tumors display a high incidence of p27 abnormalities, suggesting that p27 abnormalities play an important role in the development of this disease. Our results also indicate that cyclin D1 overexpression is involved in the development of a small number of UPSC cases. A comparison of our results with reports by other authors suggests that UPSC shares molecular marker alterations with both ovarian cancer and endometrioid adenocarcinoma. (C) 2000 Academic Press.