Six permanent human ovarian carcinoma cell lines (OVISE, OVTOKO, OVMANA and OVSAYO from clear cell adenocarcinoma, and OVSAHO and OVKATE from serous papillary adenocarcinoma) were established from solid tumours. The cell lines have been in culture for 5-8 years, the passage number varying from 62 to 246. Immunohistochemical analysis has shown that five of the six cell lines express at least six cytokeratin (CK) polypeptides. OVISE and OVSAYO expressed CKs 6, 7, 8, 18, 19 and 15 and/or 16. OVTOKO was positive for CKs 7, 8, 18, 19 and 15 and/or 16. OVSAHO expressed CKs 6, 7, 8, 14, 18, 19 and 15 and/or 16. OVMANA expressed CKs 6, 7, 8, 18, 19, 20 and 15 and/or 16. OVKATE expressed CKs 6, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 15 and/or 16. The expression of CK7, additional expression of vimentin, and clinical and histopathological findings enabled us to confirm that six cell lines had been established from primary ovarian cancers. Two of the six cell lines were positive for CK20, although CK20 was not expressed in the original tumours. The heterotransplanted tumours produced by CK20-positive cells also expressed CK20. This is the first report of ovarian carcinoma cell lines that express CK20 irrespective of their histological type. CK20 has been found in all colon carcinoma cell lines, but only in the mucinous type of ovarian tumours. These new ovarian carcinoma cell lines will therefore provide a relevant experimental system for elucidating the regulatory control mechanisms of intermediate filament expression.