The major white cell subpopulations present in bone marrow and peripheral blood can be discriminated by forward and perpendicular light scatter two-parameter flow cytometry (FCM). Fluorescent properties of anthracycline antibiotics allow measurement of the concentration of these cytotoxic drugs in hematopoietic cells by FCM as a third parameter. Analysis of scatter-gated fluorescence histograms provides quantitative information about the cellular concentration of at least four cell categories in human blood and bone marrow cells. A good correlation was found between the mean cellular fluorescence measured by FCM and the overall cellular concentration of adriamycin, daunomycin, and their main metabolites determined with high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). In incubation experiments with human hematopoietic tissues, the final concentration of various anthracyclines in subpopulations of white cells appeared to be dependent on cell density, incubation time, temperature, and type of compound and its concentration. FCM analysis is a rapid, sensitive, and quantitative method for measurement of cellular anthracycline concentrations in subpopulations and therefore provides an useful new tool in monitoring chemotherapy.