We have previously shown that human bladder tumor cell lines may be adapted to grow in the complete absence of serum or any other growth supplement and that this can be explained on the basis of autocrine stimulation. In the present study we have extended the number of cell lines that could be established as serum-free cultures and found this capacity to be correlated with tumor malignancy. We also used the receptor blocking monoclonal antibody, mAb 528, to study its effect on tumor cell growth. Inhibition was observed in all of seven bladder carcinoma cell lines tested. A similar effect was observed in two colon carcinoma cell lines but not in a melanoma line. The results show that the EGFR is involved in autocrine growth stimulation and that the acquirement of autonomous growth capacity is likely to be an important factor in the oncogenesis of bladder tumors.