Uptake and local formation of oestrone (E1) were studied in vivo by a double isotopic technique in normal and malignant breast tissues from 24 postmenopausal women with breast cancer. Active uptake of radio-labelled E1 beyond plasma was found both in normal and malignant tissue, the effect being significantly greater in non-malignant compared with cancer tissue. The presence of local E1 formation was also demonstrated in most samples. Both uptake and synthesis positively correlated with total amount of radioactive E1 found in the tissues. Uptake appeared to make a greater contribution to E1 levels within the breast than in situ synthesis, although there were marked variations between specimens from different patients and the relative proportion of synthesis to uptake was higher in tumour compared with non-malignant tissue. These results demonstrate quantitative differences in the different compartments by which postmenopausal breasts obtain oestrogen and highlight variations between individual breasts. This may be important in optimising oestrogen deprivation therapy for postmenopausal patients with hormone-dependent cancers.