Hepatocellular carcinomas developed at a high frequency in the livers of transgenic (C57BL/6 X SJL/J)F1 mice under the influence of growth hormone. Three lines of giant transgenic mice expressing a mouse metallothionein-ovine growth hormone fusion gene were generated. The giant mice weighed twice as much as control littermates. The three lines of giant mice expressing very high levels of growth hormone were bred over several generations. Mice from all three lines developed hepatocellular tumors, including adenoma and carcinoma. The occurrence of tumors was age-dependent, and their incidence increased to 70% of the mice studied after 43 weeks of age. Pathologic changes in the livers resembled those observed in rats in which hepatocellular carcinomas are induced chemically. Transgenic mice carrying the metallothionein-ovine growth hormone fusion gene represent a new model for hepatocellular carcinogenesis. This model exemplifies the oncogenic potential for a sustained proliferative growth stimulus within an organ.