Treatment of tumor-bearing (TB) and control rats with the anabolic beta-2 agonist drug clenbuterol (CLE) for 14 days reduced food intake for 4 days initially. Feeding was increased in anorectic TB rats, however, during the last 7 days of drug administration. Since minimal muscle savings were observed in chow-fed TB rats treated with CLE, the anabolic effects of this drug were investigated in a second experiment on TB rats maintained on total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Sixteen days after the subcutaneous transplantation of methylcholanthrene-induced sarcomas rats was begun on a 2-week schedule of TPN. One group of these rats was treated daily for 14 days with CLE, while the remaining rats received injections of saline. Additional groups of TB and nonTB rats were maintained on rat chow for this period and treated with saline. Although TB rats maintained on rat chow or TPN and treated with saline exhibited significantly decreased gastrocnemius muscle weight and protein content, treatment of TB-TPN rats with clenbuterol normalized muscle mass and increased muscle protein content significantly and increased plasma concentrations of branched-chain amino acids. These results indicate that although nutritional support of TB organisms does not result in protein repletion, the addition of an anabolic drug renders the nutritional support highly efficacious.