Five human myeloma cell lines, KMM-1, KMS-5, KMS-11, KMS-12-PE, and KMS-12-BM, have been established at Kawasaki Medical School since 1980. As the KMS-12-PE and KMS-12-BM lines were obtained from the same patient, these five cell lines have been derived from four patients with multiple myeloma. The five myeloma cell lines are stably growing at present in RPMI 1640 medium supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum. They can also grow in a defined culture medium without serum. That these cell lines were human myeloma cells was confirmed by the following findings. Ultrastructurally, all five cell lines showed features characteristic of plasma cells. KMM-1 and KMS-11 cells secreted lambda and kappa chains into the culture medium, respectively, but the other cell lines produced no immunoglobulins. KMM-1 expressed cytoplasmic lambda antigen, KMS-5 showed cytoplasmic delta, and KMS-11 expressed surface kappa, whereas KMS-12-PE and KMS-12-BM cells showed no surface or cytoplasmic immunoglobulins. Regarding reaction with a monoclonal plasma cell antibody (PCA-1), four of the five lines were positive, the exception being KMS-5. Another monoclonal antibody (CD38), which also recognizes plasma cells, responded to KMM-1, KMS-12-PE, and KSM-12-BM. KMS-5 cells expressed acute lymphoblastic leukemia antigens (CALLA). These data suggest that such lines as KMM-1, KMS-11, KMS-12-PE, and KMS-12-BM represent later stages of B-cell differentiation, and that KMS-5 represents a relatively early stage of B-cell differentiation. All the cell lines lacked Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen, showed abnormal karyotypes of human origin, and differed from each other in the isozyme patterns examined. Only KMS-5 was tumorigenic when transplanted subcutaneously into nude mice.