We have found that cell populations derived from human gliomas can be divided into antigenic classes which are not predictable on the basis of standard morphological analysis and which, most frequently, do not support the lineage assignations of various tumours as determined by traditional neuropathological methods. For example, only 6/60 cultures derived from astrocytomas expressed glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), an astrocyte specific marker, and all six of these cultures were derived from morphological categories which more frequently gave rise to populations which did not express GFAP. None of the seven oligodendrogliomas or four oligo-astrocytomas examined expressed antigens specifically expressed by oligodendrocytes. Most tumour-derived populations, from all classes of tumour and all grades of malignancy, expressed cell-surface fibronectin, an extracellular matrix protein only rarely found on the surfaces of CNS macroglia; such cells did not express glial-specific antigens (e.g., GFAP) in vitro. Investigation of antigen expression in tumour biopsies indicated that some tumours also consisted largely or wholly of cells which expressed fibronectin in situ. Fibronectin-expressing cells were aneuploid and were not contact inhibited in their growth, indicating that they were transformed cells. We have also identified two previously unknown antigenic phenotypes among the gliomas.