An animal model for breast cancer, brain and bone metastasis was developed using ENU1564, a cell line established from a metastatic mammary adenocarcinoma induced by N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea in a female Berlin-Druckrey IV rat. The original tumor isolate (designated FP1) spontaneously metastasizes to regional lymph nodes and lung following orthotopic inoculation into mammary fat pad (mfp) and metastasizes widely following left cardiac ventricle (LV) inoculation. From FP1, two sublines were selected from brain metastases (designated Br7-C5) or from slowly growing colonies in vitro (FP2-A11), then cloned and compared in assays of spontaneous and experimental metastasis. After inoculation of 10(5) cells into mfp, Br7-C5 formed large tumors at the inoculation site (9.4 +/- 3.3 g) and spontaneously metastasized to lung and lymph node by 55 days post-inoculation (dpi). In contrast, FP2-A11 produced much smaller tumors within mfp (0.6 +/- 0.3 g) and failed to metastasize by 55 dpi. Rats inoculated via the LV with 10(4) Br7-C5 cells developed signs of weight loss, head tilt, and dyspnea by 24 +/- 1.4 dpi with consistent colonization of brain, bone, lung, heart, kidney, and stomach. Rats inoculated similarly with FP2-A11 showed no signs until 53 +/- 12.3 dpi, when all developed rear limb paresis. There was significant colonization of only brain and bone, with only minor lung involvement. These ENU1564 sublines thus differ in their apparent rates of tumor growth and lesion development in vivo, their capacity to metastasize from orthotopic implantation sites, and in the spectrum of tissues colonized in experimental metastasis assays. Both clones provide reproducible models of breast cancer metastasis in syngeneic hosts, particularly to brain and bone.