Recently, we developed a novel implantable drug delivery system which can provide sustained intraperitoneal (i.p.) delivery of paclitaxel (PTX). As the impact of local sustained delivery on the development of multidrug resistance (MDR) is unknown, the objective of this study was to determine the impact of this drug delivery system on the in vivo expression of MDR1/P-glycoprotein (PGP) in a human ovarian xenograft tumor model. As compared to controls, intermittent i.p. dosing with PTX formulated in Cremophor EL (PTX(CrEL)) induced a two-fold increase in mRNA levels of MDR1 after a 14-day dosing period. On the other hand, sustained i.p. delivery of PTX with the implant system (PTX(film)) did not significantly affect MDR1 expression. Immunodetection of PGP in isolated xenografts supported the mRNA data. Histological analysis by H&E staining demonstrated a dose-dependent increase in tumor necrosis in the PTX(film) treated animals. Further, in vitro studies in human ovarian carcinoma cells also demonstrated a significant induction in the efflux activity of PGP with intermittent dosing schedules to PTX(CrEL) whereas this was not seen in cells dosed with PTX(film). Our findings suggest that sustained i.p. administration with PTX(film) attenuates development of MDR, suggesting that sustained, localized delivery of chemotherapeutic agents may improve current treatment strategies for ovarian cancer.