A cell line with high metastatic capacity to the liver was established by sequential passages of a human pancreatic cancer cell line through the nude mouse liver. A subline, L3.5, established after five passages of the fast-growing variant (FG) of the human pancreatic cancer COLO 357 through the nude mouse liver produced extensive hepatic metastases in 100% of experimental animals when injected into the spleen. The incidence of pulmonary metastases decreased from 43% for FG to 9% for L3.5. The L3.5 cell line showed aggressive growth with almost complete replacement of the hepatic parenchyma in one third of the mean time required for the development of macroscopic metastases of FG in the liver after splenic injections of tumor cells. This study indicates that the nude mouse provides a good model for in vivo selection of metastatic cells from human pancreatic cancer. The L3.5 cell line will be valuable in the study of human pancreatic cancer metastasis, particularly in the area of survival and growth of metastatic cells in the microenvironment of the liver.