More than 200 human small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer cell lines were established over 15 years mainly by utilizing the serum-free, hormone and growth factor supplemented, defined media HITES and ACL4. Use of modified, established cell culture techniques such as the mechanical spillout method for the releasing of cell aggregates from tumor tissue, ficoll gradient centrifugation for the separation of tumor cells from erythrocytes and tissue debris, and an apparatue consisting of a platinum tubing attached to a suction flask for removal of spent medium have greatly contributed to the success in culturing tumor cells. Characterization of these lung cancer cell lines have extended our knowledge of lung cell biology. Studies elucidating the nutritional requirements of lung cancer cell growth may be helpful for the manipulation of these tumors in patients. © 1996 Wiley-Liss, Inc.