A group of deltanoids has been used for studying the inhibition of cell growth and proliferation in two small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) in vitro. The biologically active deltanoid, 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25 (OH)2D3), has functions beyond its classical roles of stimulating calcium transport and serum calcium. It also causes the differentiation of a variety of precursor cells and suppresses growth. Although 1,25(OH)2D3 has an inhibitory effect on growth of certain malignant cells, its hypercalcemic effect has prevented clinical applications. Several new deltanoids, which showed comparable or even greater abilities to induce differentiation and to inhibit proliferation, have been identified. Furthermore, these synthetic deltanoids have been shown to be less effective on calcium metabolism and less hypercalcemic. We have selected four synthetic deltanoids; MC-903, 1 alpha-OH-pregnacalciferol, 19-nor-24 homo, and 19-nor-22(E). When compared with 1,25 (OH)2D3, these deltanoids showed considerable potency on cell growth and proliferation in the NCI-H82 and the NCI-H209 SCLC lines. Cells were treated with various concentrations of deltanoids. They inhibited the growth and proliferation of both SCLC cells in vitro in a time-and dose-dependent manner, as determined by cell number and 3H-thymidine uptake. 19-nor-22(E) showed an antiproliferative effect significantly comparable to 1,25(OH)2D3 in the NCI-H82 cell line 1 alpha-OH-pregnacalciferol, 19-nor-24 homo, and 19-nor-22(E) inhibited the cell growth in the NCI-H209 cells within the same significance as 1,25 (OH)2D3. The degree of the suppressive effect of the deltanoids was cell line dependent.