1. A short-term test in vitro is described, which can be used to detect resistance to cytostatic agents in leukaemic cells. Leukaemic cell suspensions were incubated with cytostatic agents and the resulting intracellular ATP concentrations were measured by a bioluminescence ATP assay.
2. There was a clear dose-effect relationship in acute leukaemia and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia cells for drugs used in the treatment of leukaemias. A good correlation was found between the ATP content of leukaemic cells and cell viability as determined by the trypan blue dye exclusion test.
3. Preliminary individual clinical correlations suggest a correlation between the chemosensitivity in vitro and the response patterns in vivo in leukaemia patients. This simple, fast and sensitive method may have application for determination of drug-induced cytotoxicity in leukaemic cells in vitro.