Lonidamine is an agent that is reported to inhibit recovery from potentially lethal damage. By itself, it has only mild anticancer activity. We have examined the ability of lonidamine to enhance the cytotoxicity of several drugs against a mouse and a human fibrosarcoma cell line in vitro. By itself, lonidamine showed only a limited cytotoxic effect with drug exposure up to 100 micrograms/ml and 24-h duration. Lower concentrations and shorter term exposures were not toxic to either of these tumor cell lines. When tested against the mouse line, the cytotoxicity of 5-fluorouracil, methotrexate, and etoposide was enhanced by lonidamine if the latter drug was given either before or after the exposure of the cells to the cytotoxic agents. For cisplatinum, bleomycin, mitomycin C, doxorubicin, and Actinomycin D, cytotoxicity was also enhanced, but only if lonidamine followed the other agents. In contrast, potentiation of 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea toxicity was maximum when lonidamine preceded the nitrosourea. The human cells were more resistant to lonidamine and to the combination treatments than were the mouse cells. Nevertheless, substantial enhancement was seen particularly for cisplatin and mitomycin C. We examined in more detail the enhancement of cisplatin. Maximum interaction was obtained when lonidamine was given immediately following (or in conjunction with) the platinum agent. Our results suggest that lonidamine enhances the effects of several other agents in a time- and concentration-dependent manner and indicate a potential usefulness for lonidamine in multidrug therapy.