MT201 is a fully human monoclonal IgG1 antibody with moderate affinity for epithelial cell adhesion molecule (Ep-CAM) being clinically developed for the treatment of carcinomas. Like many other clinically validated IgG1 monoclonal antibodies, MT201 primarily acts by antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC). Here, we analysed ADCC and CDC induced by MT201 and, as reference, trastuzumab against a panel of nine human breast cancer cell lines expressing distinct surface levels of Ep-CAM and human epithelial growth factor receptor type 2 antigen. Maximal cell lysis by ADCC by MT201 and trastuzumab in the presence of peripheral mononuclear cells did not significantly differ when averaged over the nine cell lines, but showed marked differences with respect to individual cell lines. The extent of cell lysis at intermediate surface target density was highly variable, suggesting a dominant influence of other susceptibility factors. Only one breast cancer cell line was eliminated via CDC, but only by MT201. Resistance to CDC appeared to correlate with high expression levels of complement resistance factors. Our present data as well as recent data on the prevalence and prognostic relevance of Ep-CAM expression in metastatic breast cancer suggest that Ep-CAM-specific monoclonal IgG1 antibodies may have a significant therapeutic potential in the treatment of breast cancer.