Abstract The fluoranthene (Fluo) is one of the most abundant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in human food and in marine compartments. However, the existing data on its genotoxicity is poor and controversial. The aim of this study was to assess in vitro the potential genotoxicity of Fluo in sole and its possible effect on CYP450 modulation. Freshly isolated hepatocytes were exposed for 24 h to a range of Fluo concentrations from 0.5 to 50 μM in both culture flasks and microplate wells. The ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activity was measured as an indicator of the activity of the cytochrome P450 1A1 (CYP1A1). The genotoxic effects were evaluated by measuring both DNA strand breaks and DNA adducts by the alkaline comet assay and the postlabeling technique respectively. Calf thymus DNA was also exposed to Fluo in the presence of sole liver microsomes in order to check for Fluo DNA adduct formation. In sole hepatocytes, Fluo was shown to induce a decrease in the EROD activity in a concentration-dependent manner. A significant genotoxic effect was observed in terms of DNA strand breakage from an exposure concentration of 5 μM: despite a concentration-dependent effect was observed, it did not follow a linear dose-response. The response was similar whatever the way of exposure in flasks or in wells. One reproducible adduct was detected in the hepatocytes exposed to the highest concentrations of Fluo. The formation of Fluo adducts was confirmed by the detection of one reproducible adduct following in vitro exposure of calf thymus DNA to 100 and 200 μM of Fluo in the presence of sole microsomes. These results demonstrate the potential of sole hepatocytes to metabolize Fluo in 24 h into reactive species, able to induce genotoxicity by DNA strand breakage and DNA adduct formation. Moreover, a miniaturized cell exposure system was validated for further experiments using fewer amounts of hepatocytes and contaminants, and allowing exposure to PAH metabolites.