We characterized 8 human hepatocellular-carcinoma cell lines established from the primary tumors of Korean patients. All lines showed substrate adherence and one line from anaplastic tumor also grew as floating aggregates. Most cultured cells maintained many morphological characteristics of the original tumors from which they were derived. Doubling times varied from 34 to 72 hr. All lines showed relatively high viability and were not contaminated with Mycoplasma or bacteria. All lines showed aneuploidy and were proven to be unique by DNA fingerprinting analysis. Hepatitis-B-virus (HBV) DNA was integrated in the genomes of all lines. Two of the cell lines (SNU-354, SNU-368) showed expression of HBV and HBVx (HBx) transcripts. SNU-354 strongly expressed albumin, and SNU-368 expressed transferrin and insulin-like growth factor II. No lines produced alpha-fetoprotein at the RNA and protein level. These cell lines represent useful tools for in vitro studies related to hepatocellular carcinoma.