The synthesis of a new series of pyridine-2-carboxaldehyde thiosemicarbazones (HCTs) that have amino groups in the 3- and 5-positions has allowed the comparison of the structure/function relationships with regard to inhibition of ribonucleotide reductase activity, L1210 cell growth in culture and L1210 leukemia in vivo. 3-Aminopyridine-2-carboxaldehyde thiosemicarbazones are more active than the corresponding 3-hydroxy-derivatives. The 3-amino-2-pyridine carboxaldehyde thiosemicarbazones were also more active then the 5-amino-2-carboxaldehyde thiosemicarbazones in inhibiting ribonucleotide reductase activity and L1210 cell growth in culture and in vivo. N-Acetylation of the 3-amino derivative resulted in a compound that was much less active both in vitro and in vivo; N-acetylation of the 5-amino derivative did not alter the in vitro inhibitory properties, but did eliminate the antitumor properties in vivo. When the most active HCTs were studied in more detail, it was found that the incorporation of [3H]thymidine into DNA was inhibited completely without the inhibition of [3H]uridine incorporation into RNA. Further, the conversion of [14C]cytidine to deoxycytidine nucleotides and incorporation into DNA was inhibited by the HCTs without an effect on the incorporation of cytidine into RNA. These data support the conclusion that ribonucleotide reductase is the major site of action of these HCTs. The 3-aminopyridine-2-carboxaldehyde thiosemicarbazones emerge as strong candidates for development for clinical trials in cancer patients.