Specific antisera for the connective tissue metalloproteinases, collagenase, gelatinase (type IV collagenase) and stromelysin were used to study their respective localizations in both rabbit primary VX2 tumours and in lung metastatic deposits (frozen immediately after excision). Collagenase was found within some cells of the primary tumour and also bound to the extracellular matrix at discrete sites. Previous studies suggest that this matrix staining represents active enzyme. Stromelysin and gelatinase had a more limited distribution, particularly the latter, but both showed cell and matrix staining. In the lung metastases collagenase and stromelysin occurred less frequently, although both cell and matrix staining were observed; gelatinase was not seen. When rabbit VX2 cells were transplanted into nude mice they grew as a discrete nodule. Cells within this nodule stained with the antiserum to collagenase, which recognizes rabbit but not mouse enzyme, and thus demonstrated that cells of tumoural origin synthesize collagenase in vivo. Stromelysin was also co-localized with collagenase in some tumour cells.