Analysis of the x-ray crystal structure of mono-substituted acetylenic thienopyrimidine 6 complexed with the ErbB family enzyme ErbB-4 revealed a covalent bond between the terminal carbon of the acetylene moiety and the sulfhydryl group of Cys-803 at the solvent interface. The identification of this covalent adduct suggested that acetylenic thienopyrimidine 6 and related analogs might also be capable of forming an analogous covalent adduct with EGFR, which has a conserved cysteine (797) near the ATP binding pocket. To test this hypothesis, we treated a truncated, catalytically competent form of EGFR (678-1020) with a structurally related propargylic amine (8). An investigation of the resulting complex by mass spectrometry revealed the formation of a covalent complex of thienopyrimidine 8 with Cys-797 of EGFR. This finding enabled us to readily assess the irreversibility of various inhibitors and also facilitated a structure-activity relationship understanding of the covalent modifying potential and biological activity of a series of acetylenic thienopyrimidine compounds with potent antitumor activity. Several ErbB family enzyme and cell potent 6-ethynyl thienopyrimidine kinase inhibitors were found to form covalent adducts with EGFR.