Squalene (SQ) was examined for ability to potentiate the cytotoxicity and antitumor activity of anticancer agents. The dose-response curves of cell survival of cultured HeLa or V79 cells in the presence of various anticancer agents [adriamycin (ADM), 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), bleomycin (BLM) and cis-dichlorodiamminoplatinum (CDDP)] showed that SQ potentiated the cytotoxicity of these anticancer agents. SQ may enhance the cytotoxic effect of ADM by interfering with the efflux of ADM from the cells. The antitumor activities of these anticancer agents combined with SQ were tested against sarcoma 180 (S180) ascites cells. Some combinations were found to show synergistic antitumor effects: ADM, BLM or CDDP with SQ was effective against S180, but only slight if any synergistic effect was observed with the combination of 5-FU and SQ. The antitumor activity of BLM was most strongly potentiated by SQ, among the tested agents.