The screening of cDNA expression libraries derived from human tumors with autologous antibody (SEREX) is a powerful method for defining the structure of tumor antigens recognized by the humoral immune system. Sixty- five distinct antigens (NY-REN-1 to NY-REN-65) reactive with autologous IgG were identified by SEREX analysis of 4 renal cancer patients and were characterized in terms of cDNA sequence, mRNA expression pattern, and reactivity with allogeneic sera. REN-9, -10, -19, and -26 have a known association with human cancer. REN-9 (LUCA-15) and REN-10 (gene 21) map to the small cell lung cancer tumor suppressor gene locus on chromosome 3p21.3. REN-19 is equivalent to LKB1/STK11, a gene that is defective in Peutz-Jeghers syndrome and cancer. REN-26 is encoded by the bcr gene involved in the [t(9:22)] bcr/abl translocation. Genes encoding 3 of the antigens in the series showed differential mRNA expression; REN-3 displays a pattern of tissue-specific isoforms, and REN-21 and REN-43 are expressed at a high level in testis in comparison to 15 other normal tissues. The other 62 antigens were broadly expressed in normal tissues. With regard to immunogenicity, 20 of the 65 antigens reacted only with autologous sera. Thirty-three antigens reacted with sera from normal donors, indicating that their immunogenicity is not restricted to cancer. The remaining 12 antigens reacted with sera from 5- 25% of the cancer patients but not with sera from normal donors. Seventy percent of the renal cancer patients had antibodies directed against one or more of these 12 antigens. Our results demonstrate the potential of the SEREX approach for the analysis of the humoral immune response against human cancer.