To identify human genes required for tumor cell growth, transcriptome-scale selection was used to isolate genetic suppressor elements (GSEs) inhibiting breast carcinoma cell growth. Growth-inhibitory GSEs (cDNA fragments that counteract their cognate gene) were selected from 57 genes, including known positive regulators of cell growth or carcinogenesis as well as genes that have not been previously implicated in cell proliferation. Many GSE-cognate genes encode transcription factors (such as STAT and AP-1) and signal transduction proteins. Monoclonal antibodies against a cell surface protein identified by GSE selection, neural cell adhesion molecule L1CAM, strongly inhibited the growth of several tumor cell lines but not of untransformed cells. Hence, selection for growth-inhibitory GSEs allows one to find potential targets for new anticancer drugs.