A human tumor clonogenic assay has been used to test the antiproliferative effect of recombinant human leukocyte interferon alpha2 alone and in combination with each of 8 cytotoxic agents. Cell lines derived from 6 human tumors and primary tumor cells from 13 patients have been used in these clonogenic assay studies. Results show that interferon as a single agent causes insignificant reduction in tumor cell colony survival if the short-term 1-hr cell exposure method is used; only high concentrations of interferon used in continuous cell exposure in the clonogenic assay can demonstrate a reduction in colony survival to below 50% of control values. Combinations of interferon with either doxorubicin or cisplatin frequently show additive and occasionally synergistic antiproliferative effects on tumor cell colony formation. Variations in drug concentrations and sequencing of drugs have been tested, showing that optimal antiproliferative effects of combined interferon and doxorubicin are realized when maximal concentrations of interferon and prolonged cell exposure time of both interferon and doxorubicin are employed. Combinations of interferon and doxorubicin tested in the clonogenic assay demonstrate cytotoxicity superior to that of either agent tested alone.