A novel oxygen sensor which does not rely on electrochemical reduction has been used to measure the oxygenation of the murine sarcoma F in a comparative study with an existing polarographic electrode that is available commercially. The prototype luminescence sensor yielded an oxygen distribution comparable with readings made using a pO2 histograph. The percentage of regions detected that had a pO2 less than 5 mm Hg was 79 and 75 using the Eppendorf pO2 histograph and the luminescence fiber optic sensor, respectively. These values were compatible with a measured radiobiologically hypoxic fraction of 67% in this tumor. The polarographic method detected more regions with a pO2 of 2.5 mm Hg or less (69%) compared with the optical sensor (50%) (P < 0.05). This could reflect differences in the oxygen use of the sensing devices. This initial assessment indicates the potential of a fiber-optic-based oxygen-monitoring system. Such a system should have several advantages including monitoring temporal oxygen changes in a given microregion and use with NMR procedures.