The surface and intracellular expression of mdrI-P-glycoprotein in parental drug-sensitive human breast cancer cells (MCF-7) and their multidrug-resistant (MDR) variants has been studied by using the monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) MM4.17 and MRK-16, which recognize 2 different epitopes of the drug efflux pump molecule. Fluorescence microscopic observations showed that P-glycoprotein, in addition to being located at the cell surface, can also be found in the Golgi apparatus of resistant cells. To confirm this finding, Golgi apparatus and P-glycoprotein were double-labelled with wheat-germ agglutinin (WGA) and MAb MM4.17. Laser scanning confocal microscopy indicated that, in MDR cells, Adriamycin mainly accumulated cytoplasmically in a perinuclear region. This accumulation proved to be modulated by pre-treatment with verapamil or ATP depletion. Moreover, the vital staining of Adriamycin-treated MDR cells, performed with the fluorescent lipid N-[7-(4-nitrobenzo-2-oxa-1,3-diazole)]- 6-aminocaproyl sphingosine (C6-NBD-ceramide), revealed that the anthracyclinic antibiotic was located in the Golgi apparatus. All these results indicate that the drug transporter is located in the Golgi apparatus, in which Adriamycin molecules also accumulate.