Resistance to multiple chemotherapeutic agents is a common clinical problem in the treatment of cancer. This resistance may occur before primary therapy or be acquired during treatment. We have generated a monoclonal antibody (MAb) (JSB-I), specific for a conserved epitope on the plasma membrane 170- to 180-kDa glycoprotein, the expression of which is strongly correlated with the degree of multi-drug resistance (MDR). JSB-1 strongly binds to both Chinese-hamster-derived MDR cell lines and human MDR cell lines, including cell lines derived from lung and ovary. A drug-sensitive revertant line, and the corresponding drug-sensitive parent lines, showed only weak reactivity or none at all. JSS-l reacts strongly to air-dried or acetone-fixed cells and therefore has potential value for diagnostic detection of MDR cells in human tumor samples.