A new cell line, designated BSMZ, was established from a malignant pleural effusion from a woman with breast cancer. This line has a doubling time of 27 h and has now been cultured for over 120 passages. The large, rounded BSMZ cells grow as both a monolayer and as aggregations in suspension. Intracytoplasmic lumen, a finding consistent with results from cells derived from mammary tissue, was detected on ultrastructural analysis. Injection of BSMZ cells into nude mice resulted in the growth of solid tumors 4 weeks after inoculation. The solid tumor was identical to the original BSMZ cells in microscopic and electron microscopic studies. These cells possess an average of 80 chromosomes. Expression of erbB-2 and c-myc genes was increased by 10-fold, while there was no detectable overexpression of the N-ras and c-myb genes. Southern analysis has revealed amplification of the erbB-2 and c-myc loci. The BSMZ cell line may therefore provide a useful model for the study of human breast cancer and overexpression of the erbB-2 gene.