A spinning cylindrical filter is often used to retain mammalian cells in a continuous perfusion bioreactor. This device, known as a spinfilter, has typically been with pore size smaller than the cell particles (single cells or aggregates) in order to achieve cell separation. For single cells in suspension, such an operation cannot be sustained over a long period of time because of clogging of the filter surface. Recently, screens with openings larger than the average cell size have been used to reduce the incidence of clogging. In this article, we have investigated how the screen size affects cell retention. We also showed why it is necessary to optimize the rotational speed of the spinfilter in order to achieve cell retention and reduce screen clogging. Effects of bulk mixing and perfusion rate on screen fouling cell retention, and cell washout were also investigated. © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.