Twenty-two cases of ameloblastoma and ten cases of adenomatoid odontogenic tumour (AOT) were analyzed comparatively by the AgNOR technique. Ameloblastomas were distributed into three groups according to their clinical behaviour: primary lesions without recurrences (PLWTR), 5 cases; primary lesions with recurrences (PLWR), 4 cases; and recurrences, 13 cases. The cases were also regrouped according to their histological pattern: follicular(9 cases) plexiform (7 cases), acanthomatous (4 cases) and unicystic (2 cases). Considering histological patterns, there was a significant statistical difference only between follicular and plexiform types. There were no significant differences between the group of ameloblastomas and the group of AOTs or between the three groups of ameloblastomas with different clinical behaviour. Our results strongly suggest that the distinct clinical behaviour of ameloblastomas and AOT is not correlated with their cellular proliferation ratio. Thus, the infiltrative ability of the ameloblastomas is probably not related to the cellular proliferation index of these tumours.