MFE-296 endometrial cancer cells express androgen receptors in vitro. These cells, which are tumorigenic in nude mice, are derived from a moderately differentiated human endometrial adenocarcinoma. They express vimentin and the cytokeratins 7, 8, 18, and 19. Karyotyping revealed near-tetraploidy for most of the cells. No marker chromosomes were observed. DNA analyses confirmed the genetic identity of the cell line and the patient from whom the cell line was derived. Proliferation of MFE-296 cells was inhibited by the progestin R5020 and the androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The inhibition of proliferation by DHT was antagonized by the antiandrogen Casodex, demonstrating the involvement of the androgen receptor. Androgen binding was determined at 22,000 binding sites per cell using a whole-cell assay (KD = 0.05 nM) and 30 fmol/mg protein with the dextran charcoal method; 7 fmol/mg protein of progesterone receptors were found, whereas estrogen receptors were below 5 fmol/mg protein. The androgen receptor was functionally intact, as demonstrated by transfection experiments with a reporter-gene construct, containing an androgen-responsive element. In MFE-296 cells the content of the androgen receptor was up-regulated by its own ligand.