This study on 279 tumours of the salivary glands was conducted to analyse whether the assessment of DNA ploidy by flow cytometry may assist histopathology in discriminating benign from malignant types of tumours. The group of benign tumours included 164 pleomorphic adenomas, 51 Warthin's tumours, 7 basal cell adenomas, 2 lipomas as well as 5 other different tumours. All of the 229 benign tumours were diploid. The malignant tumours consisted of 18 adenoid cystic adenomas, 10 mucoepidermoid carcinomas, 5 acinic cell carcinomas, 5 carcinoma in pleomorphic adenoma as well as of 12 other malignancies belonging to 7 different tumour entities. Twelve of 50 malignant salivary gland tumours were aneuploid. There was no significant relationship between the DNA ploidy status and histopathological grading, lymph node metastasis and local recurrence development, respectively. In three cases which initially were taken for pleomorphic adenomas by routine histological examination, aneuploid cell populations exposed by DNA flow cytometric analysis gave rise to a closer inspection of the suspect lesions. Examination of consecutive slides actually revealed small assemblies of carcinoma cells that required a final diagnosis as non-invasive carcinoma in pleomorphic adenoma. The most obvious value of DNA flow cytometry in salivary gland tumours is thus its contribution to assist histopathology in identifying potentially malignant lesions.