We describe the selection of 3 new multidrug-resistant cell lines derived from tumor cells of different metastatic phenotypes within the Dunning R3327 model of rat prostatic carcinoma. Cell lines of weak (AT2) and strong (AT3 and MAT-LyLu) metastatic behavior were cultured in vitro and challenged with doxorubicin at progressively increasing concentrations. Chemosensitivity was determined colorimetrically by release of precipitated formazan pigment (MTT assay). Expression of the multidrug-resistance glycoprotein (P-170) was monitored immunocytochemically and by Western blotting using monoclonal antibody C219. The behavior of the parental and resultant drug-resistant cells was assessed by their growth in syngeneic rats. Doxorubicin challenge of the initially drug-sensitive parental prostatic carcinoma cell lines resulted in the rapid development of multidrug resistance together with simultaneous expression of P-glycoprotein. While lung and lymph-node metastases developed in host animals inoculated with parental AT3 and MAT-LyLu cells, no metastases developed in the multidrug-resistant progeny of these cell lines. This study has shown that Dunning rat prostate-carcinoma cell lines, previously sensitive to different cytotoxic agents, rapidly become multidrug-resistant and express P-glycoprotein following exposure to doxorubicin. Further more, development of multidrug resistance is associated with a less aggressive tumor phenotype and loss of metastatic potential. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that the non-metastatic phenotype of Dunning rat prostatic carcinoma cells is solely associated with expression of P-glycoprotein. These new multidrug-resistant cell lines exhibiting an altered behavioral phenotype will provide a valuable mode with which to analyze the relationship between expression of P-glycoprotein and the metastatic phenotype of prostatic carcinoma cells.