Knowledge of the interactions between MHC-unrestricted cytotoxic effector cells and solid tumour cells is essential for introducing more effective NK cell-based immunotherapy protocols into clinical practise. Here, to begin to obtain an overview of the possible universe of molecules that could be involved in the interactions between immune effector cells and melanoma, we analyse the surface expression of adhesion and costimulatory molecules and of ligands for NK-activating receptors on a large panel of cell lines from the "European Searchable Tumour Cell Line and Data Bank" (ESTDAB, http://www.ebi.ac.uk/ipd/estdab/ ) and discuss their potential role in the immune response against this tumour. We show that most melanoma cell lines express not only adhesion molecules that are likely to favour their interaction with cells of the immune system, but also their interaction with endothelial cells potentially increasing their invasiveness and metastatic capacity. A high percentage of melanoma cell lines also express ligands for the NK-activating receptor NKG2D; whereas, the majority express MICA/B molecules, ULBP expression, however, was rarely found. In addition to these molecules, we also found that CD155 (poliovirus receptor, PVR) is expressed by the majority of melanoma cell lines, whereas CD112 (Nectin-2) expression was rare. These molecules are DNAM-1 ligands, a costimulatory molecule involved in NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity and cytokine production that also mediates costimulatory signals for triggering naïve T cell differentiation. The phenotypical characterisation of adhesion molecules and ligands for receptors involved in cell cytotoxicity on a large series of melanoma cell lines will contribute to the identification of markers useful for the development of new immunotherapy strategies.