We have developed a modified chemotaxis chamber assay in which bovine aortic endothelial (BAE) cells degrade Matrigel basement membrane and migrate and form capillary-like structures on type I collagen. This capillary formation occurs in the presence of conditioned media from highly metastatic tumour cell lines, such as B16F10 murine melanoma or MDA-MD-231 human breast adenocarcinoma, but not in the presence of conditioned medium (CM) from the less invasive B16F0 cell line. Replacement of tumour cell CM by 10 ng ml-1 basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) also results in capillary-like structure formation by BAE cells. An anti-bFGF antibody blocks this effect, showing that bFGF is one of the factors responsible for the angiogenic response induced by B16F10 CM in our assay. Addition of an anti-laminin antibody reduces significantly the formation of capillary-like structures, probably by blocking the attachment of BAE cells to laminin present in Matrigel. The anti-angiogenic compound suramin inhibits in a dose-dependent manner (complete inhibition with 100 microM suramin) the migration and differentiation of BAE cells on type I collagen in response to B16F10 CM. This assay represents a new model system to study tumour-induced angiogenesis in vitro.