The formation of tumor stem cell colonies in vitro has been studied by comparing the growth of three mouse teratocarcinoma derived cell lines and one human teratocarcinoma derived cell line in semi-solid media containing either agar or agarose. We show that agaroses should be used in higher concentrations than agar to obtain comparable results. The maximum number of colonies were obtained in agarose over a broader range of concentrations (1%-4% for SeaPrep and 0.5%-2% for SeaPlaque agarose) than in agar, which allowed anchorage-independent growth of tumor cells only over a narrow concentration range (0.3%-0.5%). Overall, the preparation of media containing agarose was less cumbersome than preparation of agar-containing media, primarily because agaroses gelled more slowly and remained liquid in the physiological temperature range. Furthermore, the transfer of colonies from semi-solid media containing agarose to solid surface tissue culture dishes was much more efficient than the transfer of colonies from agar. The stock solutions of SeaPrep agarose could be kept ready for use for extended periods of time. All these features show that the low melting point agarose has considerable advantages over agar for preparation of semi-solid media for anchorage-independent tumor cell growth.