We have established and characterized two mesothelioma cell lines, MS-1 and MS-2, in four attempts at long-term culture of these cells. Both MS-1 and MS-2 cells consistently express cytokeratin and vimentin, and both have long, slender microvilli. The cells that grew indefinitely (MS-1, MS-2) had a higher DNA index and a higher nucleus:cytoplasm ratio than did those cells that failed to grow (MS-3, MS-4). All mesothelioma cells, both in short- and in long-term culture, responded to phorbol ester induction by displaying morphological differentiation, such as an increase in the number of microvilli. The distribution of vimentin and cytokeratin in the cells, however, remained the same regardless of the growth pattern or the phorbol-ester treatment of the cells. We have used MS-1 cells to produce a monoclonal antibody (anti-MS) that reacts with mesothelioma cells, but rarely with reactive or normal mesothelial cells or with cells of normal tissues. The antibody does not induce the modulation of antigen, and it causes no direct or complement-mediated cytotoxicity of MS-1 or MS-2 cells. If a toxin or an isotope conjugate of the antibody is used, it may be valuable in the near future to test it for use in immunoimaging or immunotherapy.