An automated computer image analysis technique was used to study the morphological parameters of argyrophilic nucleolar organizer regions (AgNORs) in chemically induced rat colonic tumours of different grades. Different nuclear parameters were of different diagnostic value. For distinguishing tumorous tissue from normal tissue all the parameters studied were capable of serving as diagnostic markers. Malignant processes could, however, be more reliably detected by means of the area of the nucleus, nuclear shape factor, area of AgNOR and ratio of AgNOR area to nuclear area. In macroscopically normal tissue adjacent to a tumour, the values of all the AgNOR parameters studied were similar to those in tumorous tissues. It can be concluded that the initial stages in tumorigenesis are accompanied by changes in all of the nucleus and AgNOR parameters, but as malignancy develops, only some of these parameters continue to change. Close correlations between nuclear parameters in malignant tissue suggest that for diagnostic purposes only nuclear and AgNOR areas should be used.