Phage display has been used to select single-chain Fvs (scFvs) against mesothelin, a surface antigen present on mesothelial cells as well as mesotheliomas and non-mucinous ovarian cancers. Several attempts to produce anti-mesothelin hybridomas from spleen cells of mice immunized with recombinant mesothelin were unsuccessful. This report describes the isolation of anti-mesothelin scFvs from a phage display library made from the mRNA of the same spleens. Panning on recombinant antigen produced in E. coli or on antigen positive cells was employed. Several scFvs which bind specifically to mesothelin were isolated. Panning on recombinant antigen yielded five different scFvs. Panning on cells selected two different scFvs which also differ from the scFvs selected by recombinant antigen. The heavy chains of the scFvs selected on recombinant antigen are derived from four different heavy chain gene families and the scFvs selected on cells are derived from two of these families. In contrast, the light chains of all of these scFvs are derived from family XI. Moreover, the light chains of the two scFvs selected on cells are very similar to the light chains of two of the scFvs selected by panning on recombinant mesothelin except for a few point mutations. One of these scFvs which have been studied in detail has been shown to bind specifically to mesothelin positive transfected cells.