The contribution of host-derived growth factors to tumour growth in vivo was studied using the transplantable murine mammary carcinoma, MT1, grown in syngeneic mice. Promotion of growth of the mammary carcinoma by a factor(s) from the host was evident in experiments in which the carcinoma cells were inoculated intraperitoneally. In this environment, tumours develop as multiple solid nodules, each probably arising from an individual cell or a small cluster of cells. Tumour growth was found to occur in the peritoneal cavity following inoculation of 10(3) cells, but an inoculum of as few as ten cells grew if a leucocyte-rich exudate had first been induced. To determine which host-derived growth factors might contribute to growth of MT1, extracts of the tumour were first examined for growth factor activity. Fractionation of tumour extracts by either ion-exchange chromatography or gel filtration revealed several peaks of mitogenic activity, but none of this could be attributed to epidermal growth factor (EGF). Accordingly, an anti-EGF antibody was tested as a putative inhibitor of tumour growth as any effect of this antibody could be ascribed to removal of EGF derived from the host. The antibody was found to have potent anti-tumour activity when tested against MT1 tumours that had been inoculated into the peritoneal cavity. In contrast, the antibody had little effect on growth of the discrete tumour mass which formed when MT1 was transplanted subcutaneously. The results suggest that host-derived EGF contributes to establishment of microcolonies of MT1 carcinoma within the peritoneal cavity. This may be directly, by providing growth factors to supplement those produced by the tumour until it reaches a certain critical mass to sustain autocrine growth, or indirectly, by affecting the production of other growth-stimulatory factors or cytokines.