Experiments were performed to determine whether changes in T2*-weighted MR images during and after hyperoxia differentiate tumors from normal tissue. Mammary adenocarcinomas implanted in the right hind limbs of rats were studied. Gradient echo images were obtained at 2 Tesla with an evolution time of 20 ms and a recycle time of 1 s. Breathing gas was either air or 100% O2. Significant increases in image intensity were observed in tumor centers and rims during hyperoxia while much smaller changes were detected in the surrounding muscle. The relaxation rate (1/T2*) in tumors decreased during hyperoxia by an average of 2.5 +/- 1.0 s-1, while in muscle the average change was an increase of 0.6 +/- 2.1 s-1. The largest decreases in relaxation rate were detected in non-necrotic tumor regions with relatively low density of blood vessels. Immediately following hyperoxia significant decreases in intensity were detected in tumors while much smaller decreases were detected in the surrounding muscle.