Serological analysis of recombinant cDNA expression libraries (SEREX) has led to the identification of several categories of new tumor antigens. We analyzed a testicular cDNA expression library with serum obtained from a breast cancer patient and isolated 13 genes designated NW-BR-1 through NW-BR-13. Of these, 3 showed tumor-restricted expression (NW-BR-1, -2 and -3), the others being expressed ubiquitously. NW-BR-3, representing 9 of 24 primary clones, showed tissue-restricted mRNA expression, being expressed in normal testis but not in 15 other normal tissues tested by Northern blotting. RT-PCR analysis showed strong NW-BR-3 expression in normal testis, weak expression in brain, kidney, trachea, uterus and normal prostate, and was negative in liver, heart, lung, colon, small intestine, bone marrow, breast, thymus, muscle, spleen, and stomach. NW-BR-3 mRNA expression was found in different tumor tissues and tumor cell lines by RT-PCR, thus showing a 'cancer/testis' (CT)-like mRNA expression pattern. NW-BR-3 shares 71% nucleotide and amino acid homology to a mouse gene cloned from mouse testicular tissue. Based on the mRNA expression pattern, NW-BR-3 represents a new candidate target gene for cancer immunotherapy. NW-BR-1 and NW-BR-2 also showed tumor-restricted mRNA expression. NW-BR-1 is a partial clone of the breast differentiation antigen NY-BR-1 previously identified by SEREX. NY-BR-1 is expressed in normal breast, testis and 80% of breast cancers. NW-BR-2 is identical to the CT antigen SCP-1, initially isolated by SEREX analysis of renal cancer. This study provides further evidence that SEREX is a powerful tool to identify new tumor antigens potentially relevant for immunotherapy approaches.