We studied the resistance of colon tumors to anticancer agents in vitro. Using daunorubicin (DN), a number of cellular parameters which normally indicate acquired or multidrug resistance (MDR), were compared for several human wild-type colon cell lines, i.e. HT29, SW1116 and COLO 320, and the murine colon cell line C-26. The sensitive/MDR human ovarian cancer cell line couple A2780/2780AD was used as a reference. The amount of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) was in the order HT29, A2780 less than or equal to SW1116 less than C26 less than or equal to COLO 320 less than 2780AD. The MDR modifiers verapamil, Cremophor EL, cyclosporin A and Ro 11-2933/001 had significant effects on DN cytotoxicity, total DN accumulation and efflux, only if P-gp was present. A flow-through system was used to study the mechanism of DN transport. For the first time, evidence for saturation of an active transport of DN from the cells is reported. We discussed the possible presence of cooperative activity between at least two binding sites on the protein responsible for DN efflux, likely to be P-gp.