Tumor-associated antigens that can be recognized by the immune system include the MAGE-family, p53, MUC-1, HER2/neu and p21ras. Despite their expression of these distinct antigens, tumor elimination by the immune system is often inefficient. Postulated mechanisms include insufficient expression of co-stimulatory or adhesion molecules by tumor cells, or defective processing and presentation of antigens on their cell surfaces. Tumor cells may also evade immune attack by expressing CD95 (APO-1/Fas) ligand or other molecules that induce apoptosis in activated T cells. Here we describe RCAS1 (receptor-binding cancer antigen expressed on SiSo cells), a membrane molecule expressed on human cancer cells. RCAS1 acts as a ligand for a putative receptor present on various human cell lines and normal peripheral lymphocytes such as T, B and NK cells. The receptor expression was enhanced by activation of the lymphocytes. RCAS1 inhibited the in vitro growth of receptor-expressing cells and induced apoptotic cell death. Given these results, tumor cells may evade immune surveillance by expression of RCAS1, which would suppress clonal expansion and induce apoptosis in RCAS1 receptor-positive immune cells.