Fischer rat cells before and after transfection with immortalizing and transforming genes produced tumours after s.c., i.p., or i.v, injection of cell suspensions and after s.c. implantation of cellular aggregates in the tail of syngeneic rats. Tumours were described histologically as fibrosarcoma-like. Virtually all tumours were considered macroscopically to be invasive because they adhered to the neighbouring tissues; in many tumours invasion was confirmed microscopically. All types of cells produced lung colonies (artificial metastases) after i.v. injection. Spontaneous metastases (from a primary tumour) were found with some tumours produced by cells before as well as after transfection. Differences in metastasis between various cell types could not be ascribed to variations in the periods of observation, in the minimum tumour-bearing periods, in the latency periods, or in the volume of primary tumours. We concluded that local invasion and spontaneous metastasis are use full for the characterization of malignancy in experimental fibrosarcoma-like tumours. Since Fischer rat cells produced invasive and sometimes metastatic tumours before transfection, the present data do not show a rôle of immortalizing and transforming genes in the acquisition of invasiveness and metastatic capability. © 1987, Gustav Fischer Verlag · Stuttgart · New York. All rights reserved.