Liposomes from octadecyl-(1,1-dimethyl-4-piperidino-4-yl)-phosphate (OPP), a new alkylphospholipid derivative with an improved cancerostatic activity, were prepared for the first time and the activity in vitro and in vivo was characterised. The formation of liposomes (MLV, SUV and LUVET) differing in cholesterol content, charge, and sterical stabilisation is possible without serious problems, despite the lysolipid-like structure of the OPP. Liposomes with a low amount of cholesterol and with PEG2000DSPE-coating were the most stable OPP liposomes, both in buffer and in serum. The cytotoxicity of micellar or liposomal OPP against breast cancer cell lines in vitro was in the range of 20-60 microM. The cytotoxicity of the liposomal formulation was inversely related to the content of cholesterol, whereas the sterical stabilisation and/or the incorporation of a positive charge had only a very moderate modulating effect on the inhibition of cell proliferation. The strongest antitumour effect on the xenotransplanted breast cancer MT-3 in vivo was obtained with sterically stabilised OPP liposomes with low CH content. The beneficial therapeutic effect of these liposomes was accompanied by better tolerance and a significant inhibition of haemolysis compared to micellar OPP.