A bibliometric analysis was employed to objectively assess scientific studies published between 1966 and 1993 which have described cancer among American Indians and Alaska Natives. Searches of the MEDLINE (1966-1993) and CANCERLIT data bases (1983-1994) were used to identify relevant publications. In addition to examining publication sources and quantitative temporal trends, further bibliometric analyses were completed by considering a subset of papers published between 1982 and 1992. A total of 128 studies of cancer among American Indians and Alaska Natives were published between 1966 and 1993; 62 of these articles (48%) appeared between 1988 and 1993. Nine journals accounted for 53% of the total publications. The subset of 68 papers published between 1982 and 1992 were cited a total of 388 times in 136 different journals; the median number of citations was 2. Results demonstrate a limited number of published papers on cancer among American Indians and Alaska Natives. It is hoped that this paper will increase the awareness of cancer as an important health problem among American Indian and Alaska Natives and thereby serve to stimulate additional cancer-related research activities involving these groups.