A murine monoclonal antibody 14.18 specifically recognizes disialoganglioside GD2, the major ganglioside expressed on the surface of human neuroblastoma cells. This monoclonal antibody (Mab) is of immunoglobulin G3 isotype, has an affinity constant (KA) of 3.5 X 10(8) M-1, and reacts preferentially with tumor cells and fresh frozen tumor tissues of neuroectodermal origin in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunoperoxidase assays, respectively. Mab 14.18 effectively lyses a number of human neuroblastoma cell lines by two distinct mechanisms, i.e., antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and complement-dependent cytotoxicity. There is a good correlation between the average number of antibody-binding sites per neuroblastoma cell and the amount of cell lysis observed in complement-dependent cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. In addition, Mab 14.18 suppresses establishment as well as growth of progressively growing, established human neuroblastoma tumors in nude mice when injected 24 h and 9 days, respectively, after the initial s.c. inoculation of tumor cells. These data suggest that Mab 14.18 can mediate tumor cell killing in vivo and in vitro and may thereby prove useful for immunotherapy of human neuroblastoma.