A human malignant melanoma cell line (M3Dau) was observed by electron microscopy to interact directly with human platelets and induced platelet aggregation. Fab fragments of a monoclonal antibody MoAb (LYP18), directed against the platelet glycoprotein (GP) IIb-IIIa complex, inhibited platelet-melanoma interactions and platelet-platelet aggregation. M3Dau melanoma cells bind LYP 18 and synthesize IIb-IIIa- like GPs. When the melanoma cells were preincubated with LYP 18, tumor- platelet interaction did not occur, suggesting that the interaction may be mediated by the IIb-IIIa-like GPs present on the melanoma cell surface. Glanzmann's thrombasthenic platelets, lacking GPIIb and IIIa, did not interact with melanoma cells, indicating that the platelet GPIIb-IIIa complex is also necessary for the platelet-melanoma cell interaction. This work demonstrates the importance of the IIb-IIIa-like GPs, present on M3Dau melanoma cells, in mediating tumor-platelet interactions.