Improper use of mitomycin-C in ocular medication may result in damage to corneal cells. In this study, the toxic effects of mitomycin-C on cultured porcine keratocytes and endothelial cells were estimated by MTT, 3H-thymidine uptake and cellular counting assay methods. It was found that mitomycin-C caused a dose-dependent toxic effect to keratocytes and endothelial cells. Both cells were treated with mitomycin-C at the concentration ranging from 100, 10, 1, 0.1 to 0.01 microg/ml for 3 min, 5 min or 100 min. The 50% inhibitory dose (ID50) of mitomycin-C to keratocytes and endothelial cells as measured by MTT assay was 0.40, 0.18, 0.16 mg/ml and 0.27, 0.15, 0.14 mg/ml, respectively, after 3, 5 and 100 minutes drug treatment. The ID50 for keratocytes and endothelial cells as measured by 3H-thymidine uptake immediately, 1 day and 7 days after 100 minutes mitomycin-C treatment was 0.3, 0.0002, 143.2 microg/ml and 45.1, 101.1, 450.2 microg/ml, respectively. The ID50 for keratocytes and endothelial cells as measured by cellular counting 1 day and 7 days after mitomycin-C treatment was 232.5, 109.7 microg/ml and 239.9, 367.5 microg/ml, respectively. It is concluded that mitomycin-C is more toxic to cellular proliferation in cultured corneal keratocytes than in endothelial cells.