AIMS: The differentiation of adrenocortical carcinomas from adenomas may be difficult based on morphology alone. Differential expression of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) II and cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4 has recently been described in these tumours. The aim of this study was to investigate the diagnostic usefulness of these markers immunohistochemically. METHODS AND RESULTS: We examined 22 benign and 17 malignant adrenocortical tumours and compared IGFII and CDK4 expression with known immunohistochemical as well as morphological criteria of malignancy. Thirteen of 17 carcinomas showed immunohistochemical reactivity for IGFII, whereas all adenomas but one were negative. Intense CDK4 expression was detected in 11 of 17 carcinomas but was present in only three of 22 adenomas. The MIB1 index was >5% in 14 of 16 carcinomas and was <5% in all adenomas but one. The combination of IGFII immunohistochemistry with MIB1 index led to high sensitivity and specificity in detecting adrenocortical carcinomas. CONCLUSIONS: IGFII and MIB1 are helpful immunohistochemical markers to predict malignancy in adrenocortical neoplasms. These markers can be used in addition to clinical, gross and morphological features to establish a diagnosis in difficult cases.