Among the processes contributing to the progressive acquisition of the highly malignant phenotype in breast cancer are ovarian-independent growth, antioestrogen resistance and increased metastatic potential. We have previously observed that increased invasiveness and development of ovarian-independent growth occur independently. In an attempt to define the inter-relationships between these processes further, we have compared the phenotypes of ovarian-independent, invasive and antioestrogen-resistant sublines of the ovarian-dependent human breast cancer cell line MCF-7. Cells acquiring ovarian-independent growth can retain sensitivity to anti-oestrogens. One clone of MCF-7 cells selected for stable antioestrogen resistance has become non-tumorigenic but its invasive potential remains unaltered. Thus, acquisitions of some characteristics of the progressed phenotype can occur independently. This phenomenon of independent parameters in phenotypic progression could partly explain the considerable intra- and intertumour heterogeneity characteristic of breast tumours.