Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) non-invasively measures the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of water, which is sensitive to the biophysical characteristics of tissue. Because anti-cancer treatment alters tumour pathophysiology, tumour ADC may be altered by treatment. In order to test this hypothesis, ADC was measured in s.c. implanted murine RIF-1 tumours before and up to 9 days after treatment with cyclophosphamide. A dose-dependent, reversible increase in tumour ADC was observed after cyclophosphamide treatment, which is consistent with an increase in the fraction of interstitial water due to treatment-induced cell death. Because tumour water ADC is increased substantially at a time when there is no change in tumour volume for a dose which produces minimal cell kill, its measurement could provide a novel means for early detection of response to anti-cancer therapy. If the changes in ADC observed in the present study are evident for commonly used anti-cancer therapies in different tumour types and specific to a therapeutic response, the approach could be broadly applicable as a response predictor since magnetic resonance imaging can be used to measure ADC in human tumours.