LoVo, a continuous cell line derived from a human colon carcinoma produces two alkaline phosphatases: the heat-labile, L-homoarginine-insensitive, intestinal form, characteristic of its tissue of origin and the heat-stable, term-placental form, ectopically produced by a variety of tumors. Under basal conditions the activity levels of both enzymes are similar. Hyperosmolality and sodium butyrate induce increased levels of activity of the two alkaline phosphatases in a disparate fashion; whereas hyperosmolality augments the activity of both to the same extent, the effect of butyrate is more pronounced on the activity of the intestinal enzyme. When the two inducers are combined, induction of term-placental alkaline phosphatase is additive and that of the intestinal enzyme is synergistic. The effect of hyperosmolality is blocked by cycloheximide, and induction by sodium butyrate is inhibited by thymidine, cordycepin and cycloheximide. The known alkaline phosphatase inducer, prednisolone, has no effect on the enzymes of LoVo cells. Our results suggest that in these tumor cells the activity levels of the closely homologous term-placental and intestinal alkaline phosphatases appear to be independently controlled.