Human osteosarcoma and mammary carcinoma cells were cultured separately in a medium supplemented with fetal calf serum, until they were confluent. The medium was then replaced by serum-free medium supplemented with heparin. Both cell cultures secreted collagenase, and this activity was inhibited by a cartilage-derived protein of low molecular weight. Since cartilage is rarely invaded by neoplasms, the presence of this inhibitor may play an important role in the regulation of tumor invasion.