The interactions of two cell lines having different metastatic properties, and the subsequent effects on dissemination were investigated using the chicken embryo metastasis assay. The highly aggressive human epidermoid cell line HEp-3 was tested alone or mixed with the mouse colon carcinoma cell line CL26 in this assay. When inoculated individually, each cell line forms experimental metastases in the chicken embryo, but only the HEp-3 cells give rise to spontaneous metastases. In embryos co-inoculated with both cell lines there was an overall reduction in metastatic burden in both the spontaneous and experimental metastasis assays. Furthers studies revealed that CL26 cells, when co-inoculated with HEp-3 cells did not acquire the ability to spontaneously metastasize. However, in the presence of CL26 cells, spontaneous HEp-3 metastasis was reduced. Intravenous co-inoculation of HEp-3 and CL26 cells also resulted in a reciprocal suppression of experimental metastasis by both cell lines. These studies demonstrate that the interactions of adjacent, phenotypically different tumor cells can have a suppressive effect on dissemination of one or both cell types.