Hydralazine is a peripheral vasodilator used as an antihypertensive agent. Hydralazine has been reported to potentiate tumor damage by hyperthermia as well as by hypoxic-cell-specific drugs through the reduction of tumor blood flow and pO2. In the present study, we investigated the changes in blood perfusion caused by hydralazine in S.C. RIF-1 tumors and normal tissues in C3H mice using the 86Rb uptake technique and laser Doppler flowmetry. The tumor blood flow was decreased significantly by an intravenous administration of 0.5-10.0 mg/kg hydralazine, as determined by both uptake of 86Rb and laser Doppler flowmetry. The tumor pO2 was also decreased significantly by the injection of hydralazine. On the other hand, the uptake of 86Rb was increased significantly in the skin and muscle by hydralazine. The changes seen in the skin and muscle after injection of hydralazine as assessed by laser Doppler flowmetry were similar to those assessed by uptake of 86Rb, indicating a significant increase in blood circulation in these tissues. Uptake of 86Rb remained unchanged in the kidney and decreased in the liver and spleen in the presence of hydralazine in a dose-dependent manner at 0.5-10.0 mg/kg. The decline in uptake of 86Rb in normal tissues strongly suggests that hydralazine decreases the blood flow in these normal tissues. Thus the recent proposal to use hydralazine to increase the antitumor activity of heat or certain drugs needs to be reexamined.