Multidrug resistance protein 3 (MRP3), a multidrug resistance protein identified by serial analysis of gene expression as a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)-associated molecule, is highly expressed in GBM, but not in normal brain cells. Thus, MRP3 is a candidate for GBM immunotargeting, but to date, no monoclonal antibody has been isolated that can target an extracellular MRP3 epitope. By phage display, we have isolated 3 recombinant, fully human, single-chain Fv (scFv) antibodies, M25, M58 and M89, which specifically react with the extracellular N-terminus of human MRP3. In ELISA, these scFvs reacted only with the peptide used for screening and not with other MRP3-derived peptides. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that these scFv fragments bind specifically to viable human GBM cells displaying different MRP3 expression levels, but not to MRP3-null cells. Furthermore, these scFv antibodies failed to react with tumor cells overexpressing other MRP proteins, including MRP1, MRP2, MRP4 and MRP5. M25 and M58 also bound to viable neurospheres. Iodogen-labeled scFvs demonstrated a yield of 56-76%. The immunoreactive fractions of the radiolabeled M25, M58 and M89 scFvs were 32, 52 and 69%, respectively. M25 exhibited 20% internalization into D2159MG neurospheres, M58, 33% into D54MG cells and M89, 26% into D247MG. Immunohistochemical evaluation of human gliomas to determine the localization of MRP3 antigen using scFvs M25 and M58 showed a dense cytoplasmic and membranous staining pattern. These Fv-based recombinant antibodies, which possess superior tumor penetration capabilities and selectively target tumor cells that express MRP3, may potentially be used in immunotherapy and diagnosis for brain tumors and other cancers.