Two new human epithelial cell lines from sporadic colorectal adenomas designated S/RR and S/BR are reported. Both cell lines have extended growth capacities in vitro, reaching passages 38 and 40 respectively and show no sign of senescence. S/RR and S/BR cell lines have retained the ability to differentiate in vitro, as shown by mucin production from goblet-like cells. S/BR was derived from a large colonic tubular villous adenoma (3 to 4 cm), whereas S/RR was derived from a small rectal adenoma (< 1 cm), and may represent a relatively early-stage adenoma. The parent S/RR cell line has given rise to a clonogenic variant, designated S/RR/Cl, which also has shown no sign of senescence and has currently reached passage 43. Both the S/BR and the S/RR cell lines had mutations in codon 12 of the K-ras gene, while retaining one normal allele. The presence of this mutation, particularly in the cell line S/RR derived from a small adenoma, is consistent with ras mutation being a relatively early event in colorectal carcinogenesis and is perhaps involved in the ability of the adenoma cells to progress and to give rise to an immortal cell line in vitro. The clonal derivatives of the S/RR cells have an isochromosome 1q and abnormalities of chromosome 13 which include an isochromosome 13q. The S/BR cells have a deletion on the short arm of chromosome 1 and trisomy 7. The common abnormality for S/RR and S/BR cells involves chromosome 1. The involvement of different chromosomes in the 2 cell lines also suggests different pathways for malignant progression of the premalignant adenoma cells.