The relationship between cell cycle and experimental metastasis of tumor cells in vivo has been investigated, but it remains to be elucidate which step of metastasis, or whether tumor-cell invasion in particular, depends on cell cycle. We previously reported an in vitro cell-monolayer invasion (transcellular migration) assay system, in which the invasive capacity of tumor cells is measured by counting tumor cells penetrating beneath a cultured mesothelial cell monolayer after tumor-cell seeding. Using our invasion assay system, the relationship between invasive capacity and cell-cycle distribution of MMI cells, a highly invasive clone of rat ascites hepatoma AHI30, was investigated. Invasive capacity of aphidicolin- or hydroxyurea-synchronized tumor cells enriched in G1/S-early S-phase cells was about 2 to 6 times higher than that of asynchronous cells. According to time-course experiments to examine the relationship between invasive capacity and the size of fraction of cells in each phase after release from an aphidicolin or a nocodazole block, it was suggested that MMI cells are most invasive in G1/S-S phase. Phagokinetic assay using colloidal gold particles showed that one possible reason for the enhanced invasiveness might be the increased cell motility in such phases, as suggested by the in vitro invasion assay.