A model for studying the growth of primary tumors of human endometrium and its regulation by 17 beta-estradiol has been developed in which ovariectomized nude mice are used as recipients. The receptors for sex steroids are maintained during serial transplantation of the tumor in this system. Although the rate of growth of receptor-negative endometrial tumors transplanted into ovariectomized nude mice is unaffected by the sustained presence or absence of estradiol, the growth of receptor-positive tumors is significantly increased by estradiol. Receptor-positive tumors treated with estradiol produced elevated concentrations of progesterone receptor. That the progesterone receptor is functional in this tumor is evident from the induction of estradiol 17 beta-dehydrogenase activity upon progestin administration. These findings are consistent with receptor-mediated regulation of growth of endometrial carcinoma.