Anemia was induced in rats by the development of a hemorrhagic ascites. These animals also bore solid tumors (DS-sarcomas) on the hind foot dorsum. The effects of two methods for anemia correction on oxygenation in the solid tumors were compared in this study. Anemia was corrected either chronically by erythropoietin administration (1000 IU/kg) over 14 days (EPO) or acutely by transfusion with red blood cells (TR). Non-anemic and untreated anemic animals served as controls. Tumor oxygenation was determined in anesthetized animals using polarographic needle electrodes and pO2 histography. The reduction in hematocrit and hemoglobin content found in anemic animals could successfully be corrected either by EPO or by TR. Anemia resulted in a worsening of tumor oxygenation which could partially be reversed by EPO or TR in small tumors (< 1.4 ml). In larger tumors (> or = 1.4 ml), neither method of anemia correction resulted in significant changes in tumor oxygenation.