Prior in vitro studies have suggested a role of adhesion molecules, bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs), and cytokines in the regulation of human multiple myeloma (MM) cell growth and survival. Although in vivo models have been developed in severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice that support the growth of human MM within the murine BM microenvironment, these xenograft models do not permit a study of the role of adhesion proteins in human MM cell-human BMSC interactions. We therefore established an in vivo model of human MM using SCID mice implanted with bilateral human fetal bone grafts (SCID-hu mice). For the initial tumor innoculum, human MM derived cell lines (1 x 104 or 5 x 104 ARH-77, OCI-My5, U-266, or RPMI-8226 cells) were injected directly into the BM cavity of the left bone implants in irradiated SCID-hu mice. MM cells engrafted and proliferated in the left human fetal bone implants within SCID-hu mice as early as 4 weeks after injection of as few as 1 x 104 MM cells. To determine whether homing of tumor cells occurred, animals were observed for up to 12 weeks after injection and killed to examine for tumor in the right bone implants. Of great interest, metastases to the right bone implants were observed at 12 weeks after the injection of 5 x 104 MM cells, without spread of human MM cells to murine BM. Human MM cells were identified on the basis of characteristic histology and monoclonal human Ig. Importantly, monoclonal human Ig and human interleukin-6 (IL-6), but not human IL-1β or tumor necrosis factor-α, were detectable in sera of SCID-hu mice injected with MM cells. In addition, specific monoclonal Ig light chain deposition was evident within renal tubules. This in vivo model of human MM provides for the first time a means for identifying adhesion molecules that are responsible for specific homing of human MM cells to the human, as opposed to murine, BM microenvironment. Moreover, induction of human IL-6 suggests the possibility that regulation of MM cell growth by this cytokine might also be investigated using this in vivo model.