A metastasizing mouse cell line (TS/A), originated from a mammary adenocarcinoma which arose spontaneously in a BALB/c female retired breeder, has been established in vitro. It displayed a remarkable morphologic heterogeneity, which is evident in plastic adherent cultures (cell types ranging from epithelial-like to fibroblast-like) as well as in semi-solid agar cultures. The TS/A line exhibited the presence of specific cytoplasmic estradiol receptor, with a binding activity of 16 fmoles/mg cytosol protein. The in vivo growth pattern was as follows: a s.c. inoculum of 105 cells caused a 100 per cent tumor take and kill in syngeneic animals; mean survival time was 54 +/- 1 days; it did not show significant transplant immunogenicity in syngeneic animals; it was able to give rise to both spontaneous lung metastases and artificial lung colonies; it had a high capacity to grow in H-2 matched, minor histocompatibility antigen incompatible hosts (10(6) cells killed 100 per cent DBA/2 mice in 58 +/- 2 days). This line of spontaneous mammary tumor cells is proposed as a useful model for studies on the heterogeneity of the neoplastic population in relation to metastatic spread, on tumor immunogenicity, and on therapy of mammary neoplasia.