Activities of adenosine deaminase (ADA), 5'nucleotidase (5NT), xanthine oxidase (XO), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (CAT) enzymes were measured in cancerous and cancer-free adjacent bladder tissues from 36 patients with bladder cancer and in control bladder tissues from 9 noncancer patients. Increased ADA and decreased XO, SOD, and CAT activities were found in cancerous bladder tissues compared with those of cancer-free adjacent tissues and of control bladder tissues. Differences were also found between enzyme activities in the bladder of different disease stages and grades. In the cancerous tissues, only positive intracorrelations were found, but in the cancer-free adjacent tissues and control tissues, both positive and negative correlations were established between enzyme activities. Results suggested that purine metabolism and salvage pathway activity of purine nucleotides were accelerated in the cancerous human bladder tissues via increased ADA and decreased XO activities, probably together with changes in some other related enzyme activities and, free radical metabolising-enzyme activities were depressed in cancerous bladder tissues, which indicated exposure of cancerous tissues to more radicalic stress.