We have established a novel ascites tumour model (MDA435/LCC6) from the oestrogen receptor-negative, invasive and metastatic MDA-MB-435 human breast cancer cell line. MDA435/LCC6 cells grow as both malignant ascites and solid tumours in vivo in nude mice and nude rats, with a tumour incidence of approximately 100%. Untreated mice develop ascites following i.p. inoculation of 1 x 10(6) cells and have a reproducible life span of approximately 30 days, with all animals dying within a 48 h period. The in vivo response of MDA435/LCC6 ascites to several cytotoxic drugs, including doxorubicin, etoposide (VP-16), BCNU and mitomycin C, closely reflects the activity of these single agents in previously untreated breast cancer patients. MDA435/LCC6 cells also retain the anchorage-dependent and anchorage-independent in vitro growth properties of the parental MDA-MB-435 cells, and can be used in standard in vitro drug screening assays. The drug resistance pattern of the MDA435/LCC6 cells suggests that they may have few active endogenous drug resistance mechanisms. To generate a model for the screening of MDR1-reversing agents, MDA435/LCC6 were transduced with a retroviral vector directing the constitutive expression of the MDR1 cDNA, producing a cell line with a classical MDR1 resistance pattern (MDA435/LCC6MDR1). THese ascites models may be a viable alternative to the murine leukaemia ascites (L1210, P388) and, in conjunction with other breast cancer cell lines, facilitate the in vitro and in vivo screening of new cytotoxic drugs and drug combinations.