The expression of the hypoxia-inducible protein erythropoietin in tumour cells correlates with levels of tumour hypoxia. Our aim was to look for an interrelation of directly measured oxygenation levels, the presence of tissue erythropoietin and its receptor. Data of tumour oxygenation status, plasma and tissue erythropoietin and its receptor in a group of spontaneously occurring tumours in 15 dogs were collected. Polarographic tumour oxygen partial pressure measurements were obtained and data were correlated. Significant positive correlations were found between tissue erythropoietin and the percentages of pO2 values 610 mmHg. Multivariate analysis revealed no parameters influencing plasma erythropoietin levels. Our results show that a co-expression of erythropoietin receptor and its ligand in spontaneous canine tumours exists, that the level of hypoxia in tumour cells correlates with the level of tissue erythropoietin and suggest the need to be quantitatively and functionally tested as novel prognostic biological parameters in neoplastic tissues.