A new tumour marker, mucin-like carcinoma-associated antigen (MCA), was evaluated in 176 breast cancer patients classified either as free of tumour (NED, n = 141) or as having metastases (PD, n = 35). During the 5 year follow-up, 842 measurements of MCA and 363 measurements of CA 15-3 were done. MCA levels were significantly increased in the PD group (P = 0.0001) but not in the NED group. The sensitivities of the MCA and the CA 15-3 assays were 84% and 78% and the specificities were 81% and 78%, respectively. The negative predictive value of 97% for MCA was significantly higher (P = 0.0001) than the 88% for CA 15-3. Thus the MCA enzyme immunoassay is at least equivalent to the CA 15-3 test and is recommended in the assessment of metastatic spread or tumour recurrence in breast cancer patients.