We investigated the antiproliferative effect of two polyhydroxylated (quercetin and taxifolin) and two polymethoxylated (nobiletin and tangeretin) flavonoids against three cell lines in tissue culture. Tangeretin and nobiletin markedly inhibited the proliferation of a squamous cell carcinoma (HTB 43) and a gliosarcoma (9L) cell line at 2-8 micrograms/ml concentrations. Quercetin displayed no effect on 9L cell growth at these concentrations, while at 8 micrograms/ml it inhibited HTB 43 cell growth. Taxifolin slightly inhibited HTB 43 cell growth at 8 micrograms/ml, while moderately inhibiting HTB 43 cell growth at 2-8 micrograms/ml. The proliferation of a human lung fibroblast-like cell line (CCL 135) was relatively insensitive to low concentrations of the above flavonoids.