Exposure of bladder tumor cell strain HT-1197, chronic bonemarrow leukemic cell strain K-562, and African green-turtle normal kidney cell strain Vero to high energy shock waves resulted in ultrastructural changes and a reduction in cell viability as determined by 3H-thymidine incorporation assay and flowcytometer. K-562 was the most sensitive while Vero was the most resistant to the high energy shock wave. By flowcytometry using anti BrdU antibody, described K-562 in the S phase was found to be inhibited by the exposure. Electron microscopy revealed destruction of microvilli over the cell surface and swollen mitochondria in K-562 and HT-1197. These effects were related to the number of high energy shock wave exposures. Our study demonstrates that a high energy shock wave has an anti-tumor effect in vitro.