1. To investigate the metabolites and biliary excretion of new camptothecin analogue, irinotecan, the drug was administered i.v. to rats (10 mg/kg) and bile, urine and faeces were collected. 2. In rat bile, unchanged irinotecan, the metabolite 7-ethyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin (EHCPT) and unknown metabolite M-1 were found by t.l.c. and h.p.l.c. From beta-glucuronidase hydrolysis, n.m.r. spectrometry and mass spectrometry, M-1 was identified as EHCPT-glucuronide (EHCPT Glu). Other metabolites in the bile were negligible. 3. The cumulative biliary and urinary excretion of radioactivity after dosage of rats with irinotecan were 62.2% and 33.3% dose, respectively, and 9.0% of the radioactivity was excreted in the faeces. 4. Approx. 55% of the biliary radioactivity excreted in 24 h was unchanged irinotecan, 22% was EHCPT Glu, and 9% was EHCPT. 5. Approx. 18% of the biliary radioactivity was reabsorbed from the intestine.