We analyzed several cellular and molecular properties of BALB/c 3T3 cellular clones transformed in vitro with polyoma virus and exhibiting a high or low tumorigenicity phenotype. We also analyzed the same clones after a single in vivo passage in syngeneic mice. This passage invariably induced and/or selected variants exhibiting a very high tumorigenicity phenotype. BALB/c mice bearing tumors induced by the inoculation of the above cells, regardless of their tumorigenicity phenotype, have a lower number of L3T4 positive splenocytes than appropriate controls. The response to Con-A of spleen cells from such mice was also suppressed. Concomitantly, an increase in Mac-1 positive splenocytes could be measured. In spite of the non-specific suppression of T cells, spleen cells from tumor-bearers showed a specific proliferative response to polyoma antigens. Molecular analysis of polyoma transformed cells showed no differences between the various cells with respect to integration of the polyoma viral genes or with respect to src, myc and fos proto-oncogenes. In vitro maintained cells and in vivo passaged cells seemed to differ, however, in the content of polyoma middle T. Whereas polyoma virus transformed cells maintained only in culture never expressed low affinity receptors for IgG (FcγRII), certain in vivo passaged cells did. This expression could be measured both at the protein and the mRNA level. Those in vivo passaged cells which expressed Fα RII gave tumors following a long latency period. Ongoing experiments will indicate whether or not FcγRII expression is linked to long latency of tumor development.