Pleural mesotheliomas and osteosarcomas develop in hamsters injected intracardially with SV40. Using primers specific for the RB-pocket binding domain of SV40 we analysed with the polymerase chain reaction frozen specimens from 48 human mesotheliomas and 145 human bone tumours. We found that 60% of human mesotheliomas and 33% of human bone tumours contained SV40-like DNA. Immunostaining, Western blot and RNA in situ hybridization experiments revealed SV40 Tag expression in human mesotheliomas. Osteosarcomas were not studied for Tag expression because not enough material was available. Finally, antibodies anti-Tag were detected in the sera collected from patients with mesothelioma. These data indicate that SV40, or a closely related virus, is/are present in human mesothelioma and osteosarcoma.