Based on the recent findings that show how recombinant human tumor necrosis factor (rh-TNF)-alpha has potent antitumor activity on human cancer patients when it locally administrated, we have tested the cytotoxicity of rh-TNF-alpha on 3 canine cultured cells: (1) canine kidney carcinoma (CKCa-1), (2) mastocytoma and (3) Mardin Darby canine kidney cells (MDCK). The cell surface expression of TNF-alpha receptors on these canine cells was also determined with anti-human TNF RI and RII polyclonal antibodies. Our data shows that on CKCa-1 which has TNF RI receptors rh-TNF-alpha induced cytotoxicity. By contrast, it exhibited no toxicity on canine mastocytoma which has mainly RII receptors. The data also suggest actinomycin D (ACT-D), an anticancer antibiotic, enhanced the cytotoxicity of rh-TNF-alpha. Combined with ACT-D, rh-TNF-alpha showed the cytotoxicity on MDCK which possessed both TNF RI and RII receptors. The results indicate that the cytotoxicity of rh-TNF-alpha depends on the presence of TNF RI receptors on canine tumor cells.