The antitumor drug, cisplatin (cis- diamminodichloroplatinum II), dissolved in both water and phosphate-buffered saline, was studied for its genotoxic and cytotoxic effects in the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The results showed that the drug was both recombinagenic and mutagenic in the wild-type diploid strain D7. It was observed that both cytotoxicity and genotoxicity were greatly reduced when cisplatin was dissolved in phosphate-buffered saline compared to the aqueous solution. Cell survival analyses showed that the diploid strain (D7 rad 3), deficient in excision of UV-induced pyrimidine dimers or similar adducts, was hypersensitive to cisplatin. Another diploid strain (rad 52/rad 52), blocked in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks and recombination was also hypersensitive to the drug. Mitotic gene conversion was not observed in the rad 52/rad 52 diploid after the drug treatments, while it was reduced in the excision -deficient strain. Reverse mutations occurred in the excision-deficient strain (D7 rad 3), even at low doses of cisplatin. These results are discussed in relation to the possible mechanisms of cisplatin-induced cell death and genotoxicity.