Vinflunine, or 20',20'-difluoro-3',4'-dihydrovinorelbine, is a novel Vinca alkaloid obtained by hemisynthesis using superacidic chemistry. The most impressive structural modification of this vinorelbine derivative was the selective introduction of two fluorine atoms at the 20' position, a part of the molecule previously inaccessible by classic chemistry. The antitumor activity of vinflunine was evaluated against a range of transplantable murine and human tumors. Vinflunine exhibited marked activity against murine P388 leukemia grafted i.v. when given i.p. in single or multiple doses according to various schedules or in single i.v. or p.o. doses. Increases in life span achieved with vinflunine, as assessed by T/C ratios, ranged from 200% to 457% and proved markedly superior to those of 129-186% obtained with the other Vinca alkaloids tested. Against s.c.-implanted B16 melanoma, multiple i.p. administration of vinflunine proved active in terms of both survival prolongation and tumor growth inhibition, with optimal T/C values and relative areas under the tumor growth curves (rAUC) being 24% and 36%, respectively. The extent of this activity was superior to that noted for vinorelbine under the same experimental conditions. Growth inhibition of human tumor xenografts LX-1 (lung) and MX-1 (breast) was also observed following four weekly i.p. injections of vinflunine as reflected by optimal T/C values of 23% and 26%, respectively, and significant differences in the rAUCs noted for treated versus control animals. It was also noticeable that vinflunine induced considerably more prolonged inhibitory effects on tumor growth than did vinorelbine. These results demonstrate that vinflunine is well tolerated and is definitively active against a range of experimental animal tumor models. Vinflunine activity has been documented in terms of both survival prolongation and tumor growth inhibition, with definite superiority over vinorelbine being shown in each tumor model evaluated.