The cytotoxic effects of chemotherapeutic drugs on quiescent and actively proliferating cells of a Lewis lung carcinoma (LLTC) cell line have been examined. The sensitivities of cells in plateau-phase and exponentially growing cultures were compared with those of cells recovered from large subcutaneous tumours both immediately after tumour disaggregation and after one or 4 days in culture. Flow cytometric analysis indicated that when cells freshly prepared from tumours were placed into culture, they underwent extensive recruitment into S-phase. Several drugs were less cytotoxic towards both plateau-phase cultured cells and cells freshly isolated from tumours than they were against exponentially growing cells. These included amsacrine, its 4-methyl-5-(N-methyl)carboxamide derivative CI-921, doxorubicin, and nitrogen mustard. In contrast to these drugs, chlorambucil and plasma from cyclophosphamide-treated mice did not show decreased activity against slowly proliferating cells from cultures or tumours relative to cells in an actively proliferating state. The similar sensitivities of plateau-phase cultured cells and cells taken directly from large growing tumours is direct evidence that plateau-phase cultures are a useful approximation to the state of cytokinetic resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs that prevails in solid tumours, although they may not fully reflect the cytokinetic heterogeneity present in tumours.