We established new cell lines from head and neck cancer patients for studies of adhesion molecules and cellular behavior in nine patients with primary or metastatic cancer treated at the Asan Medical Center. Explant cultures of fresh tumor tissue were used to develop new permanent tumor cell lines. Lines were tested for tumor formation and histology in nude mice. Flow cytometry and indirect immunofluorescence were used to assess DNA content and expression of the alpha 6, beta 4, and beta 1 integrin subunits and the intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1). In vitro growth patterns and adhesion to plastic were assessed using phase contrast microscopy. AMC-HN-1 to -8 were derived from patients with squamous cell carcinoma. AMC-HN-9 was from an undifferentiated carcinoma of the parotid gland. The 8 lines we tested produced nude mouse tumors that are identical to the histology of the original tumors. AMC-HN-1, -2, -5, and -9 have epithelioid or spindle cell morphology with poor cell-to-cell and cell-to-substrate adhesiveness. AMC-HN-3, -4, -7, and -8 grow as adherent epithelioid monolayers. AMC-HN-6 exhibits multilayer stratification. Four lines are near diploid, 4 are hyperdiploid and 1 is hypodiploid. Only three express ICAM-1. All lines express the alpha 6, beta 4, and beta 1 integrin subunits but to different extent. Four, AMC-HN-1, -2, -5, and -6, express the beta 4 integrin at low levels, AMC-HN-3, -4, -7, and -9, have intermediate beta 4 expression, and AMC-HN-8 has extremely high beta 4 expression. The AMC-HN cell lines are representative in vitro models for the study of head and neck cancer biology. Our preliminary results indicate a close relationship between integrin expression and cell adhesion in vitro.