Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a major impediment to the effective treatment of cancer. We have used multicellular tumor spheroids (MTS) as a model to investigate whether MDR can be reversed in a three dimensional structure. MTS are tightly associated aggregates of tumor cells that exhibit many of the properties of solid tumors. A human MDR breast carcinoma cell line was selected by exposure to taxol under monolayer conditions. The sensitive (parental) and drug-resistant phenotypes were retained when the cells were grown as MTS. Thus, the three dimensional conditions in this novel model system did not affect the MDR phenotype. SDZ PSC 833 is an efficient MDR reversing agent as determined under monolayer conditions and is currently being evaluated in clinical trials. Resistance to taxol and doxorubicin of the MDR cells grown as MTS was almost completely reversed by SDZ PSC 833. Our results suggest that SDZ PSC 833 has the potential to reverse the MDR phenotype in solid tumors.