We have previously detected by immunofluorescent assay that the cellular localization of nucleophosmin/B23 (NPM) shifts from the nucleolus to the nucleoplasm (NPM-translocation) after exposure of cells to multiple agents. In order to improve the quantification of the NPM-translocation, we have developed a digital imaging technique. Human Lo leukemia cells, MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells, and fresh human leukemia cells were exposed to anthracyclines or actinomycin D for 4 h. The degree of NPM-translocation was determined and presented as the localization index (LI). Control cells had a LI of about 10, which indicates that the majority of NPM was localized in nucleoli. The LI for drug-treated cells decreased in a dosage- and time-dependent manner. The effect of two classes of anthracycline (daunomycin and aclacinomycin A) and different types of intercalators (daunomycin and actinomycin D) had additive effects on induction of NPM-translocation. The imaging procedure was easily applied to fresh leukemia cells, thus providing useful information regarding drug effects on cancer cells.