The conditioned media of 34 human tumor cell lines were screened for the ability to induce granulocyte-macrophage colonies in vitro in bone marrow cultures, to stimulate proliferation of a murine IL-3 dependent hemopoietic cell line (32D clone 3) and to stimulate thymidine incorporation in suspension cultures of acute myelogenous leukemia cells. Twelve tumor cell lines produced factors that were active in these assays. The conditioned medium of the glioblastoma cell line U87 MG was characterized in detail and found to contain G-CSF and GM-CSF. Cloning and sequencing of the U87 MG G-CSF indicated that it was derived from G-CSF b mRNA, which encodes a protein with a deletion of 3 amino acids at residues 36-38. The gene for G-CSF was mapped to human chromosome 17 band q21, a region involved in translocations frequently found in acute promyelocytic leukemia. G-CSF (U87MG) was able to induce granulocytic differentiation of the total population of a murine IL-3 dependent cell line, 32D clone 3; this effect was antagonized by IL-3. GM-CSF (U87-MG) supported the proliferation without inducing differentiation of two growth factor-dependent leukemic cell lines, TALL 101 and AML-193.