Two clones of the 3LL Lewis lung carcinoma, a low-metastatic clone A9 and a high-metastatic clone D122, were studied for MHC expression and immunogenic properties. Using monoclonal antibodies, we demonstrated that the A9 clone expresses both the H-2Kb and the H-2Db, whereas the D122 expresses only the H-2Db, and lacks the expression of the H-2Kb encoded molecules. Cells of the low-metastatic clone A9 grew progressively in syngeneic (C57BL/6J) or in F1 mice, but were rejected in allogeneic recipients. The high-metastatic D122 grew progressively in all mouse strains tested, yet metastases were formed only in syngeneic recipients. When H-2 recombinant mice were used, the A9 again manifested a significantly greater immunogenic potency than the metastatic D122, which grew in all 4 recombinants tested. Metastases, however, were formed in B10HTG and to a lesser extent in B10A(4R), thus indicating that metastasis formation is restricted by both C57BL background and H-2Db sub region. We subsequently tested whether the higher immunogenicity of the H-2Kb-positive A9 cells is expressed also in syngeneic mice, to examine whether this could account for its low metastatic phenotype. We found that immunization by A9 cells significantly inhibited the growth of a subsequent A9 graft and even of D122, yet D122 did not retard the growth of secondary D122 or A9 cells. The increased immunogenic effect was expressed also in the generation of syngeneic cytotoxic lymphocytes by A9 but not by D122 cells. We suggest that expression of H-2K molecules on the 3LL clones, immunogenicity and the metastatic phenotype are causally related in this system.