The present study was undertaken to determine the pattern of immunoreactivity of BT32/A6, a human IgM monoclonal antibody (MAb), with the following histological panels: 1) 30 human and non-human cell lines, 2) 32 normal human tissues, and 3) 28 tumors of central neuroepithelial origin (16 astrocytic; 11 non-astrocytic). Antibody BT32/A6 recognizes a surface and cytoplasmic antigen present on a variety of human tumor cell lines including gliomas, melanomas, neuroblastomas, and a few sarcomas. The antigen is present (at least focally) on 15/16 astrocytic tumor tissue sections (94%), and in some cases, on close to 100% of cells. All malignant cell types, including small anaplastic cells, giant cells, gemistocytic cells, and cells forming pseudopalisades were labeled by MAb BT32/A6. Non-astrocytic neuroepithelial tumors did not stain appreciably with MAb BT32/A6. There was weak immunoreactivity in a small subset of normal human tissues of epithelial and lymphoid origin, with the exception of adrenal cortex, which exhibited weak to moderate staining. All normal tissues of neuroectodermal and mesenchymal origin were unreactive. In conclusion, MAb BT32/A6 appears to be unique in that it recognizes a highly-expressed astrocytic tumor-associated antigen that is present on both low and high grade tumors. This makes it a strong candidate for further studies aimed at establishing its usefulness in the treatment of human astrocytic tumors.