Effects of the mitotic inhibitor NY 3170 (1-propargyl-5-chloropyrimidin-2-one) on cell-cycle kinetics of NHIK 3025 cells were studied by means of time-lapse microcinematography, pulsed incorporation of [3H] thymidine, flow cytometry, and mitotic index. All the experiments were performed with cells synchronized by mitotic selection. Mitotic inhibition as well as inhibition in interphase was examined. The small fraction of cells able to escape mitotic arrest at 0.2mM NY 3170 had spent about 12 h in metaphase. The metaphase block was complete at 0.3 mM. For comparison, complete metaphase arrest of NHIK 3025 cells was reached at 8 mM after treatment with the parent substance NY 3000 (5-chloropyrimidin-2-one, previously reported). At 0.3mM NY 3170 interphase was also considerably prolonged. All stages of interphase were prolonged, in contrast to the interphase prolongation after treatment with high concentrations of the mitotic inhibitors vincristine and vinblastine, which occurs in G2. It was shown that the presence of NY 3170 during mitosis is a necessary and sufficient condition for metaphase arrest, thus demonstrating that metaphase arrest is not dependent on some preceding event in interphase.